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Minister embraces factional board 'I' ll meet with aggrieved parties 'Danagogo

Published by Tribune on Fri, 29 Aug 2014

The Minister of Sports and chairman, National Sports Commission, Dr Tammy Danagogo on Thursday expressed immense confidence in the ability and capacity of the new Executive Committee of Nigeria Football Federation to take Nigeria football to new heights.Speaking during a courtesy call on him by the new NFF Board, Dr Danagogo also urged the new board to open channels of communication with all aggrieved institutions and individuals with a view to reconciling all parties and achieving lasting peace in Nigeria football.'I congratulate you on your election and have confidence in you to take our football to where it should be. I have known some members of this Board for several decades now, and some others for quite some time now. You are all people I can easily relate with.'But the challenges ahead are huge. I want you to start reaching out to all persons who have issues and discuss with them, and find amicable solution to all matters. You must be ready to reconcile with all institutions and individuals of interest, such as government, FIFA, members of NFF and stakeholders.'Speaking earlier, NFF factional President, Ambassador Chris Giwa thanked the sports minister for his continued support for the NFF, the national teams and Nigeria football generally, and pledged that his Board would work assiduously towards taking the nation's game to a new height.'The truth is that the NFF has been beset by crises for a long time, for more than a decade. This new team is determined to bring these crises to an end. We will work hard towards bringing everyone together and reconciling in the interest of the Nigeria game.'Danagogo harped on the importance of peace and tranquility, in which atmosphere progress can be achieved.There were also former NPL chairman, Chief Rumson Baribote, former NFF Board member Mr. Ben Agarry, NFF Assistant Director (Communications) Mr. Ademola Olajire, Head of International Competitions Mr. Bola Oyeyode, Chief Legal Officer Barrister Okey Obi and special assistant to General Secretary, Dr. Christian Emeruwa.Other members of the new NFF Executive Committee, who sent apologies for their absence at the meeting, were Mr. Ayodeji Tinubu, Alhaji Muazu Suleyman, Chief Felix Anyansi-Agwu, Alhaji Sharif Inuwa, Otunba Dele Ajayi and Mallam Farouk Garba.On Wednesday, Ambassador Giwa, in company with the new executive committee members, familiarised himself with the NFF Secretariat, and then held a meeting with the staff, where he pledged to work with everyone and urged them to continue to give their best effort to the development of the Nigeria game.I' ll meet with aggrieved parties 'DanagogoIt may take some more time for President Goodluck Jonathan to be abreast of current impasse that has dogged the nation's football establishment, because the Sports Minister Dr Tamuno Danagogo is yet to conclude the job in respect of resolution. Danagogo made this known to newsmen moments after he played host to the Ambassador Chris Giwa-led Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) board that paid him a courtesy call on Thursday afternoon in his office. According to the minister and chairman of the National Sports Commission, it is his responsibility to hear out all parties in the current impasse. 'I don't think there's anything wrong for any of the parties to come and brief me, since I am the head of sports in the country.'Responding to the question of whether the president was aware of the problems bedevilling football in the country, he said: 'At the Federal Executive Council, issues are not just tabled like that, because it is a serious forum. One thing you should know is that I have been given a responsibility in sports and so I have to hear out all parties before making things known at the higher level. Why am I in charge, is it not to handle things like this''After Thursday's meeting, the sports minister told newsmen that, it will be the turn of the other parties to be heard.By next week I shall be meeting with the other party, I mean that of the FA chairmen, the likes of [Amanze] Uchegbulam and [Taiwo] Ogunjobi and the rest.He posited that the greatest challenge he as a minister is facing is the issue of sincerity. 'Our greatest challenge in this impasse is that most people involved are not gentlemanly and sincereenough. Earlier, we had agreed that five persons should contest for the preidency, but on the eve of the congress, agreements were breached and there was subtle extension of tenure which negates the spirit of moving forward..Apparently backing the current board, he said: 'The unfortunate thing about this whole thing is that the other group walked out to protest, you don't fight a cause from outside. If you want to correct a system, you don't do it by staging a walk-out.'He reasoned that if the other party had listened to him when he was heading for thecongress venue to come in for all to sit down as a family, perhaps they would have addressed a lot with their presence.New electoral committee inauguratedThe Nigeria Football Federation interim committee on Thursday inaugurated the newly constituted electoral committee ahead of the September 4 elections into the board of the federation.The chairman of the interim committee, Chief Ephraim Chukwuemeka, while inaugurating the committee in Abuja, charged them to be transparent in their dealings to avoid the mistakes of the dissolved committee.According to him, the mandate of the electoral committee as approved by the Congress is to conduct free and fair elections that will usher in a new NFF board on Thursday September 4, in Abuja.He advised them to take into cognizance those who have collected forms from the dissolved electoral committee in the course of carrying out their responsibilities.'Today this committee is put in place to replace the former committee that did everything in violation of the NFF statutes, the rule of FIFA and also in disobedience to the highest authority of this land represented by the Secretary to the Federal Government, who in a meeting told us to go and hold a congress to chat the way forward before the September 4 election date.''I as the chairman of the interim committee as set up by the Congress, hereby inaugurate this committee for a successful take-off of their functions but I must remind you that you are expected to be very sincere in your dealings with members of the public that desire to buy forms, every thing must be done so that we will have a level playing ground. I want to warn that nothing should be done against the statutes of the NFF and FIFA.'Our actions are known to FIFA and they have advised us to do what we are doing,' Chukwuemeka said.In his acceptance speech, the chairman of the committee Barrister Sampson Ebomhe said he would not be cowed as they will abide by the statutes and electoral guidelines of the NFF in discharging their duties.He assured that all qualified persons will be given equal opportunity to express their interest in the elections.No suspension of Premier league matches'NFFThe Nigeria Football Federation has urged all stakeholders to discountenance a statement from the League Management Company that matches of the Nigeria Premier League are being suspended.'It has come to our notice that the League Management Company has been issuing notices to clubs in the Premier League that matches are being suspended from this weekend.'This is totally untrue. If the LMC received a notice from the Nigeria Referees Association about purported withdrawal of referees, the LMC should have brought this to the notice of the NFF and not to take a decision to suspend the League on its own,' NFF President, Ambassador Chris Giwa, said in Abuja on Thursday.Giwa expressed his unhappiness with the Nigeria Referees Association for the threat to withdraw referees from the Premier League, and said the NFF would not take the matter lightly.'As the owners of the League, the Nigeria Football Federation is hereby making it clear that Premier League matches are not being suspended. Matches scheduled for this weekend will definitely take place,' Giwa affirmed.The NFF has therefore called on all referees appointed for this weekend's matches to go for their matches.NRA withdraws from all matchesThe Nigeria Referees Association (NRA) has withdrawn from all Nigeria football matches, the Nigeria Premier league, Nigeria National League, Nigeria Women's league and the Federation Cup until the leadership crisis that has engulfed Nigeria football is resolved.A letter signed by the Secretary General of the association, Moruf Oluwa sent to the Secretary General of Nigeria Football Federation, (NFF), Musa Amadu stated that from this weekend referees will stop officiating the federation's organised matches....LMC puts league matches on holdThe League Management Company (LMC) has put on hold all fixtures scheduled for Match Day 26 following the withdrawal of services by the Nigeria Referees Association (NRA) from all Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)-organised matches.A statement from the LMC's Chief Operating Officer, Salihu Abubakar reads: 'The decision is in the light of the notice of withdrawal of services by the Nigerian Referees Association which makes it impossible for us to organise games.'The LMC said clubs in the Glo Premier League and the sponsorship partners have already been advised of the development with clubs directed not to proceed to venues of their respective games until further communication.Abubakar said: 'We have written to the General Secretary of the NFF on this development and have also informed the clubs and our sponsors'. He said the LMC desires that the crisis be amicably resolved soon to restore an enabling environment for the league to run smoothly.'We are already running a tight fixture schedule and are hoping that this crisis is resolved soon so the season can be concluded in time for our clubs to prepare for continental registration and participation', the statement concluded.
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