By Ime Bassey
Having received the Nigerian Football Association, NFA’s ultimatum to conduct its FA elections on or before tomorrow, the Imo State FA has ordered its electoral congress to reconvene for its elections on a date yet to be decided as it blamed the imbroglio on some top Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) politicians.
Making this known to Sunday Vanguard Sports, the Vice-Chairman of the association, Mr. Emmanuel Ochiagha, said the electoral panel of the State FA has been asked to reconvene the congress for elections to hold.
“We are going to comply with the NFA directive. We are going to inform the electoral committee to call for an emergency electoral congress.
“The letter from the NFA came in last night (Tuesday), so, between today (Wednesday) and tomorrow (Thursday), the board will sit and then decide on which steps to take.
“As long we are concerned, we are going to conduct the elections according to the stipulated time of NFA. If the government says we should not hold the election, then NFA would take its decision on us.
“Imo State FA is built on the status of NFA. However, some people who failed in the PDP primaries are using some of our colleagues to destabilise the government of Governor Ikedi Ohakim,” he added.
On issues which held back the state FA from holding its elections, the vice-chairman said the problem was caused by some persons who wanted to discredit the state government.
“Personally, I am weeping because the government has not realised what is going on. One of the people agitating that the election should not hold in order for the NFA to ban the Imo State FA and Heartland FC and discredit the government of Ohakim is a former director of Rochas Foundation.
“He happens to have his sister as a commissioner in the state. These two have ganged up to drag the state football backward and the governor thinks they are working for him.
‘’How can somebody attend a meeting, signed the minutes, did not raise any objections to the decisions agreed upon, then after the meeting, he goes out complaining about the decisions reached.
“The electoral committee was nominated by all of us on the board; we all nominated one person each including the Chairman, Amanze Uchegbulam. We all concurred to the status of the NFA which is obtainable in all the 37 states of the federation. Why would he now start blaming the chairman that he single-handedly picked the electoral committee?” Ochiagha said.
However, the electoral committee chairman, Mr. Chimdi Ejiogu, who spoke after the congress of last Sunday, noted that everything was ready for the election but was called-off by the government. He said they were ready to conduct the elections anytime they were called upon to do so.
“The congress has shifted the elections to another date in view of the state government’s intervention upon hearing from the NFF that they are ready to hold the elections anywhere in the country where security is guaranteed.
‘’The current board resolved at the congress that the executive remains in office until the election is conducted. The election process, as it is now, is what they would continue with when it would be conducted.
“The Commissioner for Sports had gone on air requesting for the suspension of the election on the grounds of insecurity, and the FA were not consulted. I am aware that the state government is concerned about security.
“As for the commencement of the congress, we had all the necessary things in place for the elections. The policemen were accredited and in position with their tags, same also for the Mobile police. The media were also not left out as they were represented. There were few observers and representatives from the referees and even an NFF official. We, as the electoral panel, are ready at anytime to conduct the elections,” Ejiogu added.