NFF leadership tussle: Uncertainty as Supreme Court refers Pinnick, Giwa back to FHC

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Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen led a five-man panel of the nation’s apex court to unanimously set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Jos, sustained the Orders of the Federal High Court in justice and returned the matter to the Federal High Court for quick re-trial.

The Supreme Court upheld the appellants’ contention that they could have the case re-listed before the Federal High Court after their settlement talks broke down. The Court rejected the plea by the appellants to have the case heard and determined on its merit.

The Supreme Court held that the conditions that could warrant hearing such case which ought to be heard by the Federal High Court had not been met.
‎The appellants, Yahaya Adama and Obinna Ogba, who had claimed that they and others were the authentic NFF executive committee members of the NFF that were elected on 26th August, 2014 had

on 19th September, 2014, filed their suit before the Federal High Court in Jos, praying for among others: that they along with others allegedly elected on 26th August, 2014, be declared the legitimate executive committee members of the NFF.

The defendants to the suit were the then outgone executive committee of the NFF represented by its President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari and Musa Adamu, the Plateau State Football Association representing the football association in the 36 states of the federation, the Federal Capital Territory, and the Minister of Sports.

The Federal High Court sitting in Jos, Plateau State later in the process dismissed the Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick from office. The court ordered Chris Giwa to resume office as President of the football federation.

While delivering his verdict, the judge in charge, Justice Musa Kurya granted the prayers of Yahaya Adama and Senator Obinna Ogba, to relist the case which among other pleas had sought to nullify the Warri General Assembly and the subsequent elective congress that turned in Pinnick as President of the NFF.

Justice Kurya had also ruled that the election of 26th August, 2014 remained valid, hence identifying Giwa as the president of the NFF.

The order also barred individuals from interfering with the duties and functions of the NFF board under the leadership of Giwa.

Before the court ruling, many Nigerians had demanded the resignation of Pinnick from office following the failure of the Super Eagles to qualify for the AFCON 2017.

Reacting to the sack, the Pinnick-led board also filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal in Jos and a stay-of-execution against the decision of the Federal High Court, Jos.

The decisions of the Court of Appeal having been turned down by the Supreme Court and sustaining the Orders of the Federal High Court automatically means that the Executive Committee led by Amaju Pinnick are out of office pending the new decisions of the Federal High Court.

It would be recalled that Justice Kurya also granted Giwa’s motion seeking the re-listing of his case against the Amaju Pinnick-led NFF.

It would also be recalled that Adama Yahaya and Obinna Ogba had approached the court to re-list the matter which they had earlier withdrawn, after intervention by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The Federal High Court had in a ruling on 23rd October 2014, nullified the Warri General Assembly and the subsequent elective congress that brought in the current NFF board, led by Amaju Pinnick as NFF President.

At the last sitting on 10th March, 2016, counsel to the plaintiffs, Habila Arzard, said that his clients decided to re-list the matter since most of the issues surrounding the leadership of the NFF remained unresolved.

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