Crisp Shots

July 1, 2011

More Stones For Glass Court

By Ikeddy Isiguzo

If you are living in a glass house don’t throw stones
If you can’t take blows, brother don’t throw blows
– Lyrics from Peter Tosh, world famous Jamaican reggae artiste now gone

THE Nigeria Football Association headquarters, more famously known as the Glass House, can attest to the lyrics of Peter Tosh. Blows are being thrown in various directions, even by those who cannot take blows.

Stones have not been left out. It is denying the fact to say that the glass house is taking stones and standing. With its occupants now indeterminate, one lessons most people have learnt around the subject is that throwing stones from a glass house has vast consequences.

Things are more difficult if people throw stones on your glass house.

Endless law suits may be the fate of Nigerian football for some time to come. If you decide to count, be sure of losing count. The latest one, and it is interesting because it may determine so many things, is the one on the status of the Nigeria Football Association, NFA. It is another stone in the many that the Glass House has seen.

We know how one day Mr. Jarret Tenebe and five others announced an interim board of the NFA, leaning on the fact that Act 101 of 1992 does not recognise the Nigeria Football Federation. When things get to points of law, other points are lawless, unless the law accommodates them. It is therefore unlikely that the present issues can be resolved outside the court, unless of course we become wise to the fact that the death of football is ironically being built on our supposed love for it.

The latest suit  is from an Abuja-based businessman, Chief Osamuyi Igbinidu, who makes no secret of the fact that he is a friend of Alhaji Aminu Maigari, the boss of the Nigeria Football Federation, which is more in court rooms than in its board room. His suit FHC/ABJ/CS/585/11 of 16 June 2011 at an Abuja Federal High Court has been assigned to Court Seven.

Chief Igbinidu is challenging the composition of the interim board of the NFA in view of the provisions of the NFA Act 1992. He wants the court to determine if the NFA is legal, in its present state.

Among the relieves he seeks are a restraint on the National Sports Commission from recognising the interim board, and an order stopping the NSC from spending public funds on the NFA. He further does not want the NFA to occupy the football house, also known as the Glass House.

I have to stop from further comments on this matter. It is predictable that more stones would be hurled at the Glass House, for it deserves nothing less now. Football is on its knees, it would still require further descent for some of us to realise that we have to rebuild the game, especially its administration which has fallen into irreparable damage.

Next on the line of  consequences for Nigeria is the continuous decline of the national team to the extent that we have reasons for the failures. We are relying on some calculations for our Nations Cup qualification. The women’s team to the FIFA World Cup did not get adequate attention, I daresay as usual. Its poor performance at the event is not related to the skirmishes at the NFA. Whether there was a crisis or not the preparation would rarely have been different.

The abundance of talent that the Almighty has freely awarded to us is one of the things we take for granted. The beach football team has qualified for the World Cup again though we do not play beach football nor is there a national competition from which we raise the teams that mesmerise the world.

Back to Peter Tosh, it may be advisable to take his words with some seriousness. None of the contenders to the affairs of football can take blows, all we have seen are people throwing stones.

My happiness at the state of things is that the courts are playing an active role. We have crossed the line of not taking football matters to court – making the distinction between results of games which a court cannot change, and administrative misdemeanours that might have infringed the law.

The journey would be over soon. I only hope it would result in a better Nigerian game and its administration. I also hope that there would be anything to administer, after we have thrown away the opportunities to lead the game in the continent. However, no reason is good enough to abbreviate the sanitation that law and order would bring to the game.

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