The Nigeria Football Federation has described the purported reelection of Senator Ifeanyi Ubah as the Anambra State FA chairman on Monday as “an act of brigandage.”
Reports say 22 members of the Anambra FA flouted the state government’s order and unanimously voted in Ubah to run the association’s affairs for another four years.
Secretary to the Anambra State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, had on July 24 written to the Chairman of the Electoral Committee, Jude Anyadufu, asking the FA to postpone the election over non-compliance with the government’s policy on COVID-19.
“The said notice is an attempt at organising elections into the board and local councils of the Anambra State Football Association, in fragrant disregard to existing government policy banning elections into associations and unions in Anambra State as part of efforts at curbing the spread of COVID-19.
“The purpose of this letter therefore is to advise that you shelve the planned election until the subsisting ban is lifted. Failure to do so will place you in direct contravention of extant laws and will expose you to risk of arrest and prosecution,” the letter read in part.
The government also issued another statement on Monday, postponing the election indefinitely.
However, members of the Anambra FA reportedly gathered to elect Ubah as chairman for another term, same day.
Reacting to the development on Tuesday, the NFF in a statement issued by its Communications Department, quoted Chairman of Chairmen of Nigerian Football, Ibrahim Gusau, as describing the election as “a charade of very low grade.”
“That was an act of brigandage and the NFF fully dissociates itself from it. The Electoral Committee sent to the NFF a letter which they received from the Anambra State COVID-19 Task Force, requesting that the elections into the State FA and the local football councils be postponed, in line with the situation in the country, as the ban on sporting activities and mass gatherings was still alive,” Gusau said in the statement.
“In view of these, it is incomprehensible how anyone could have gone ahead with the charade they are calling election, and you begin to wonder who actually conducted the so-called election.
“That was an affront on the government and the NFF will never be part of it. The Anambra State COVID-19 Task Force made it clear that there should be no such gathering. It is irksome, and let it be said without ambiguity that the NFF does not recognize such a sham and it cannot stand.”
Efforts to reach Ubah for his reaction proved abortive. He did not pick our correspondent’s call and was yet to respond to text message sent to him as at the time of filing this report.
However, a former Chairman of the Nigeria Premier League, Victor Baribote, says the NFF does not have the powers to cancel the Anambra FA election.
“It is very clear, Article 18, sub-section 2 says that all FAs and affiliates are independent, in line with the FIFA standard electoral code that the electoral and appeals committee must be drawn up on the floor of the congress,” Baribote, a former NFF vice president, said.
“If the Anambra FA have complied with the provisions by setting up that electoral and appeals committee, the best anybody can do is to approach the electoral appeals committee to seek for redress. But the NFF under any law don’t have such powers.”