By Emman Ovuakporie
DEPUTY Chairman House of Representa-tives Committee on Sports, Ayo Omidiran yesterday asked the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF to pay sacked Assistant Coach of the Super Eagles, Sylvanus Okpala his accumulated salaries.
Omidiran who told Vanguard that as Deputy Chairman of the committee she had not set her eyes on Okpala’s petition, saying: ”If I had seen his petition nothing would have made him to petition the federation to CAS because we would have resolved it once and for all. “
”The truth is that NFF should pay him all his dues and I can assure you that once I see the petition action would be taken and Okpala will withdraw his petition to CAS. “
”He should not have gone that far but that is the highest arbitration body in sports administration in the world, I know that once we step in, he would withdraw the petition.”
Vanguard recalls that after Okpala was suddenly relieved of his job, all attempts to get his entitlements paid fell on deaf ears as the NFF boss Aminu Maigari has been threatening him that nothing will make the government agency pay him.
Okpala had said he resorted to CAS to get the NFF pay him because the contract he has with the football house states that “any dispute arising from or related to the present contract will be submitted exclusively to Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland and resolved definitely in accordance with the Code of sports-related arbitration.”
“After they served me a letter to disengage me from my services in the Super Eagles in April last year, my lawyer wrote them to pay me off since I had a contract which runs till after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil but they failed to respond,” he said.
He said that after exhausting all avenues to help plead with the NFF to pay him, including writing to the Senate and House Committees on sports, without any positive result, he had to go to CAS since the NFF president, Aminu Maigari had vowed not to pay him even if President Goodluck Jonathan intervened.
“The truth is that they (NFF) have the right to hire and fire even if it is 100 coaches but they have one obligation, that is to pay off anyone they sack. If he has a 3-year contract but stays for only one month, they have to pay him off his three year contract or sit with him and negotiate how to pay this money. That is what I want now, they should pay me off my contract.”
The former Rangers of Enugu player added that contrary to insinuations from some quarters that he was sacked from the Super Eagles for insubordination, the NFF stated clearly in their letter to him that their action was based on “limited financial resources” to “maintain a 17-man technical/backroom staff for the Super Eagles.”
“They even commended me for the way I worked for the team and wrote that my “toil, high passion for the job and painstaking commitment no doubt contributed to the Super Eagles triumph at the 29th Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.”