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Court stops sports minister, Pinnick from conducting NFF executive election

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Thursday, restrained the Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, and President, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, from conducting the SNFF executive election scheduled to hold on September 30, 2023, in Edo state.

The trial Judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a ruling on an ex-parte motion moved by counsel for the claimants, Celsus Ukpong, ordered the minister, Pinnik or any person, acting on their instruction, to maintain a status quo pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

Counsel for the claimants informed the court that the defendants are taking action that will adversely affect the subject matter of the case, and the court ordered parties to maintain status quo ante pending a final order of this court and adjourned till October 31 for hearing in the matter.

In the motion marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1376/2021, Harrison Jalla, Chief Victor Rumson Baribote, Austin Popo and the National Association of Nigerian Footballers (NANF) are 1st to 4th claimants respectively and, in the application dated and filed on September 2, NFF, Pinnick and the minister are 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.

The claimants, in the motion, sought an interim order restraining the defendants or electoral committee from organising or conducting any election into any executive office of the NFF pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

An affidavit in support of the motion deposed to by Fayenengigha Jacob, a lawyer in the chamber of Ukpong, said the defendants had been served with processes in the case and that NFF and Pinnick had entered an appearance in the matter, while the minister, though served with court processes had not entered an appearance.

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Jacob averred that one of the complaints in the matter was the undemocratic manner in which the NFF was being constituted resulting in depriving the majority of the stakeholders and members of the NFF from having a say or contributing to the development of football in the country.

He said, the glory of Nigeria football has nosedived as a result of its undemocratic manner of the leadership of the said body and that, the complainants were deliberately excluded from the last congress held in Lagos for no just reason.

“That the claimant had legitimately called on the leadership of the said body to set machinery in motion to amend the 2010 NFF statute that was manipulated to deprive the majority of the NFF members such as the Professional Football Association, the league, the coaches body and the players from participating in any election let alone of winning same.

“That the said leadership of the NFF, the 2nd defendant (Pinnick), his agents, privies refused or neglected to allow the due process to take place in amending the said 2010 NFF statute,” he averred.

Jacob said while this matter is still pending in court, the defendants are going ahead to announce and purportedly try to organise and conduct an election of the said body, adding also that, the defendants had been served with the motion on notice for an interlocutory injunction to restrain them from conducting any election into the executive offices of NFF until after the hearing and determination of the substance matter.

According to him, while the motion on notice for interlocutory order restraining the defendants from disturbing the res in the matter, the defendants have drawn out a timetable and set up an electoral committee to conduct an election to the offices in question on Friday, September 30, 2022, in Benin City Edo State.

He said the substance of the matter would be defeated should the said election slated for September goes ahead and without hearing of the pending motions and substantive matter.

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