Appeal Court sacking Of NFF Board vindicates me – Uchegbulam

Appeal Court sacking Of NFF Board vindicates me – Uchegbulam
January 25 10:29 2024 Print This Article

By Ben Alozie

Nigeria football may be headed for uncertain times following the recent ruling of the Appeal Court nullifying the elections of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) which ushered in the Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau-led board.

In a shocking ruling, the Appeal Court in Abuja, led by Justice Hamma Akawu Barka, alongside Justice Okon Abang and Justice Adebukola Banjoko, ordered the sacking of all members of NFF board for alleged use of court orders obtained from ‘dubious’ means, in conducting the NFF elections held in Benin City, Edo State, on September 30, 2022.

Commenting on the development, former Vice President of Nigeria Football Federation, Chief Amanze Uchegbulam, says, the nullification of the 2022 NFF elections was an avoidable consequence of a misadventure.

Uchegbulem, a former member of Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) Arbitration Committee, who was a Presidential aspirant in the 2022 NFF election, said he withdrew from the exercise to avoid the risk of Contempt of Court after a directive from the then Minister of Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare, that the election be suspended, was ignored by the NFF electoral committee.

‘’I withdrew from the election on principle because I did not want to compromise my integrity in the game. I also withdrew my FA – the Imo Football Association from the exercise because there was a court order stopping the elections. I conveyed my decision to withdraw from the contest in my letter to the electoral committee, dated September 26, 2022, citing the Court Order from Hon. Justice I.E. Ekwo on the 15th of September, 2022, stopping the election, pending the hearing of a substantive suit; as my reason.

‘’As a law abiding citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I shall make myself available to participate in the election upon the vacation of the Order of the Federal High Court Abuja and or set aside or issues being resolved by the parties, to the knowledge of the Court and the public for the purpose, and same communicated to the Aspirants accordingly by the electoral committee,’’ part of the letter reads.

‘’I am vindicated by this development,’’ Uchegbulam said.

‘’There was also an advice from the then Minister of Sports, Mr. Dare, that the election be suspended because of the Court Order. True to type, they went and got a counter order from somewhere and ignored the advice of the Minister and in disobedience to the court order.

‘’The court has said the counter Order was procured through‘deceit’ as it was not from an authentic source. It was all out of desperation. Too bad,’’ he said.

Describing the electoral process as jaundiced and tainted, Uchegbulam said, the ruling of the Appeal Court is not good for Nigerian football as it has the potential of disrupting the administration and development of the game in the country, if not properly managed.

He advised the Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Eno, to intervene in the development and save the country’s football from the consequences of the Appeal Court ruling.

The Appeal Court did not only sack the Gusau-led NFF board, but also struck out all processes related to NFF appeal.

The court ordered the deletion of all processes related to the appeal from the court systems immediately, citing dubious orders and deceit in the electoral process.

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