Abuja – Iyke Igbokwe, Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Disciplinary Committee, has urged the leadership of the country’s football house to conduct election into the board of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL), alongside other leagues.
Igbokwe, who made the call in Abuja on Sunday, said anything short of elections into the NPL Board this time around would amount to illegally perpetuating the League Management Company (LMC) in office.
Igbokwe’s call came on the heels of comments credited to Amaju Pinnick, NFF President, that the tenures of the three leagues chairmen have expired.
The leagues are the Nigeria National League chaired by Emeka Inyama; Nigeria Women League (NWL) with Dilichukwu Onyedimma as its Chairperson and the Nigeria Nationwide League (NNWL) headed by Ahmed Kawu.
According to Igbokwe, it is worrisome that the LMC has remained in office overseeing the NPL and illegally occupying one of the seats in the executive committee of the NFF, contrary to the country’s football statutes.
“It is unfortunate for the NFF president to come out and denounce the leagues chairmen that they are no more part of the board knowing that some of these leagues are yet to conclude their leagues.
“NPL is being run by an illegal body called the LMC, so, I expect that the NFF President if he was sincere, his sweeping comments should start with the LMC because it existence is illegality.
“I don’t see how our foremost league, the NPL will be run by people that emerged through processes that are unknown to the statutes.
“If the NFF leadership thinks it will continue in the illegalities of the past, this time around, with the government we have in place that illegality will not thrive.
“If the NFF leadership is not thinking of NPL election, it should start thinking about it now because any extension of the mandate of the LMC will be met with deep resistance,’’ Igbokwe said.
Igbokwe pointed out that the present government unlike what was in existence during the NFF election in Warri, frowns at illegality and would be ready to punish anybody who indulged in it.
He said that the action of the NFF would erode public confidence if it failed to conduct the NPL election alongside other leagues.
He also warned that he would petition President Buhari and the Minister of Sports on some shoddy deals of the NFF if it tried to manipulate the electoral guidelines to favour any group or individuals.
“This government will want to set example with anybody trying to subdue due process.
“The Electoral Committee for these elections must not think of doctoring the guidelines if not I will personally petition Mr President and the Minister of Sports, who is a lawyer.
“Guidelines that will be used in the league board elections will be the same that was used in the last NFF election.
“The only amendment will be to accommodate the zones that have not filled their quota on the board especially now that the AGM of the NFF is coming up on Dec. 16.
To amend the statutes, you must start by forwarding the amendments, first to the NFF executive committee, three months before the AGM, then, you need two-third majority to approve that,’’ he added.
He urged them to do the right thing to avoid plunging the nation’s football into another round of crisis.
He said: “what I am saying is that if you are in the LMC and you want to be part of it, you come out and contest a popular ballot.
Article 28 of the NNF status says clearly that all executive members of the NFF must be constituted through a democratic process which is election.
“I blame the congress of the NFF because it continues to approve illegalities in the past three years; I am hoping that it do not go further in that illegality in the next AGM.
“If you want to hold executive committee post in any of the league, please do that through process of election; referees, players union, coaches and other did their through that process.