THERE are laws guiding the operations of the Nigeria Football Association (illegally known as the Nigeria Football Federation). The foundational law is ActÂ (Decree) 101 of 1992 which is still in our law books. This is the only national law on Nigerian football and it calls the body running football the Nigeria Football Association.
With the series of changes at impressing FIFA that our domestic laws do not encumber the operations of our football,Â the Statutes of the Nigeria Football Association evolved through various consultations.
The promoters of the Statutes â€“ a set of laws â€“ that aligned our football with international best practice â€“ changed the Association to Federation, ignoring the fact that Act 101 of 1992 was superior to the Statutes. None of these is the problem with the NFA elections that are slated for 21 August.
We are calling for the postponement of elections because they will run contrary to the Statutes, the same set of laws from which the NFA derives its powers and pegs its relationship with FIFA, CAF and other international bodies. A recognition ofÂ a new NFA board by FIFA and CAF would not in any way substitute for the provisions of the NFA Statutes.
In the past when government appointed the NFA Board or with Decree 101 the modalities of the elections were mysteries. The Statutes clearly state the composition of the NFA and those who can vote at the board elections.
State Football Associations, 37 of them, with a total ofÂ 74 votes, form the bulk of the 109 voters at the election.
Election into the NFA on 21 August would grossly violate Article 21 of the Statutes which states, 1. A State Football Association shall consist of the local government Football Councils within the State. 2. Each State Association shall establish, run and maintain a permanent headquarters at the State Capital.
m) Each state Football Association shall have its elective congress in November/December succeeding the elective Congress of the Federation within the senior FIFA World Cup year.
4. Annual General Assembly: a) Each State Football Association shall host its Annual General Assembly before the NFF General Assembly, except the elective congress. 5. State Executive Committee: a) Each State Football Association shall be composed of twelve (12) persons, four (4) elected from each senatorial district made up as follows:- Chairman, 2 Vice Chairmen, 9 Ordinary Members b) All the above officers shall be elected at the Annual General Assembly of the State Football Association: c) The positions of the State Secretary and the Assistant shall be by appointment by the Association.
None of our 37 State Football Associations operate in this manner the Statutes approve, yet the elections would be held according to the Statutes. The Statutes does not recognise any State Football Association that exists outside it.
Therefore the positions the State Football Associations hold are illegal, following the dictates of the Statutes.
Elections into the NFA cannot legally hold with 74 voters who represent themselves pretending they act for State Football Associations. Unelected State Football Association cannot elect the NFA Board.
We call on the authorities, especially FIFA, particularly with its inclination to follow the Statutes, to stop the ceaseless violation of our football. They should postpone NFA elections until the State Football Associations are elected in line with the Statutes.
The ill-advised return to international football would do irreparable damage to Nigeria if it results in handing our football future to men and women who are immersed in their ambitions to grab the resources of football to the point that they would violate the laws they are meant to protect.