The Minister of Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung, may have inadvertently sparked a new controversy in the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
Between August and December 2014, Chris Giwa and the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, were in a fight for the control of the nation’s football federation.
Giwa claimed to be the duly elected President of the NFF, owing to the August 26, 2014 contentious election in Abuja- which was massively boycotted by delegates.
He took his case to the continental and world football governing bodies but he lost in both places as The Confederation of African Football, FIFA and the Court of Arbitration for Sports, chose to recognise the Amaju Pinnick-led board.
At some point, when Fifa threatened to ban Nigeria if the crisis was not resolved, Giwa was compelled to withdraw his case from a Jos court.
Then came the selection of Dalung- a friend of Giwa- as Sports Minister in 2015.
Dalung, feeling the need to make peace between Pinnick and Giwa, who has long moved on from the contest for the NFF top job- sought to make peace moves.
The peace process which began in late 2015, culminated in the meeting called on Wednesday, January 20, by Dalung.
While the meeting failed to achieve its desired aim, it also saw old tempers awakened as Giwa and Pinnick were said to have almost engaged each other in fisticuffs.
During the meeting, which was roundly criticised beforehand, by football stakeholders, the two men engaged each other in a verbal altercation and almost made it physical, had it not been for the Minister.
The heated verbal exchange between Giwa and Pinnick was reported to have lasted for about five minutes, after which the meeting continued.
In spite of the several hours spent deliberating on the reawakened crisis, the meeting remained deadlocked.
Sensing a lost cause but determined to wade into a dead matter, the Minister told reporters that the meeting will reconvene next week Wednesday.
He promised to try and resolve the crisis in the interest of Nigerian football, while adding that the meeting gave him the opportunity to hear from both parties.
“I have the will power and the political power to resolve the issue and I am optimistic that this issue will be resolved. We have decided to hear from them because this is a democracy, if we were in a military dictatorship I may have just decreed and asked one party to step down.”
Source: Y Naija