BY JUDE OPARA, Abuja
There was a mild drama yesterday at the secretariat of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) as the impeached president of the NFF, Alhaji Aminu Maigari who was reinstated to his position last Friday by the Minister and Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Dr. Tamuno Danagogo resumed in his office.
Maigari had arrived at the secretariat at about 11.45 am in a long convoy of vehicles made up mainly of security operatives including the police and the Department of State Security (DSS) and also led by the general secretary of the NFF, Barr. Musa Amadu, also on the entourage were the Lagos and Kano State FA chairmen, Seyi Akinwumi and Sherif Rabiu-Inua. They proceeded straight to the office of the president where Maigari exchanged greetings with board members who were already in the same office including the first vice president, Chief Mike Umeh.
Briefing the media immediately he took his seat, Maigari said he resumed to continue to contribute his quota in the development of football in Nigeria adding that he is ready to continue to work with his estranged board members as one united football family.
“As you witnessed, I went to each and every one of my colleagues to greet and shake hands with them because we are friends, colleagues’ and working together for the development of football in Nigeria, we must all know it that football is a team work. It is not just what only one man can do. I also want to use this opportunity to thank all Nigerians for their deep interest in the development of football in the country.
“We have a lot of youths who are ready to be developed and we must do everything necessary to develop them in the best interest of the country, so it is beyond one person” said Maigari who also denied that he had earlier tendered his resignation letter.
He also spoke on some of the far reaching decisions taken by the board while he was serving his impeachment including the unbanning of some football stakeholders his leadership earlier sanctioned saying that the board is one and that the decisions they took in his absence still stand.
“I agree with my colleagues, whatever decisions they may have taken still stand because it is the same NFF. I don’t believe that these people or my colleagues will do the wrong thing. I don’t believe in it, so what I want to achieve now is how to bring each and every member of the family to work together. My aim and desire is to achieve what we want to achieve because as I said this is a job that must be done collectively”.
But in a swift reaction, Chief Mike Umeh who sat at another end of the office with some of the members loyal to him said he still remains the acting president of the federation and that Aminu Maigari remains impeached and that nobody except the congress of the NFF has the power to either endorse or quash it.
“Yes Maigari came to me and we exchanged greetings. It does not mean that we are enemies we only want to develop as institution, but we still stand by the decision we have taken that he has been impeached by a majority of the board members pending the confirmation of the congress and we still stand on that, yes he can come after all he is a Nigerian but a tree cannot make a forest, I don’t know how he can take any decision without the board members, so let us see how he will function”.
When asked his reaction to the talks that Maigari may be having the backing of the government, Umeh asked; “Does is mean that the government is interfering in the running of the NFF? If that is so by implication that is interference, he should not say that because government did not ask us to impeach him, in the first instance when he was taken to court he said he was wrongly sacked because FIFA does not like taking football matters to court and we stepped in to save our football, this what he did to Lulu and Galadima so his own cannot be n exception” said Umeh who insisted that Maigari was impeached in line with the Statutes of the federation.
Umeh further reiterated his earlier claims that Maigari actually resigned on the 12th of August, 2014 and that the decision for him to resign was taken when it became obvious that he wanted a soft landing.
He said that the board will meet on Monday night and after which will come out with its position regarding the FIFA letter even as he said that FIFA must not act like they are a partial organization by listening to only one person.
Meanwhile at the time of filing this report, the board members were gathering at the NFF secretariat including Barr. Leye Adepoju whose ban was recently cancelled by the NFF under the leadership of Chief Mike Umeh.