Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja branch, Barrister Abimbola Kayode, has told stakeholders from the Chris Giwa-led faction of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) that the federal government’s recognition of Amaju Pinnick as president of NFF was to save Nigeria from FIFA’s wrath.
Victor Baribote, Proprietor of Nembe City FC; Harrison Jalla, President Nigeria Professional Football Association and Barrister Faye Jacob, legal adviser of Nembe City FC, had at the weekend visited the office of the Unity Bar to felicitate with Kayode on his emergence as the chairman of the Abuja branch of NBA.
Baribote said the visit was to lodge complaint against the position taken by Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, in recognising the Amaju Pinnick led board of NFF.
Baribote, a member of Giwa’s faction wondered why Osinbajo and others who had sworn to pay allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and protect the Constitution, would now do otherwise.
“Now they have thrown our sovereignty to the dustbin by saying that the laws of Switzerland are now superior to Nigerian laws.
“That is why we said, let us come and lay our complaint before the NBA. If you can lend your voice by telling Nigerians that what we have done will not augur well for Nigeria because the opposite of law is lawlessness.
“We have to complain against the VP because his letter to FIFA was against the enforcement of an order of a Federal High Court, which had directed that Giwa should be in office,” Baribote said.
Without mincing words, Kayode, told the self-acclaimed stakeholders that Nigeria would have been suspended by FIFA if not for the letter of the acting President to the world football governing body recognising Pinnick as NFF President.
“If you ask me, and speaking for myself, I agree that the then acting President was right in his decision.
“We all know that as at the day the presidency communicated to Switzerland, there was no option left for FIFA to suspend Nigeria from all football activities.
“Being a Professor of Law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, he had looked at the pros and cons to arrive at that decision”, the legal practitioner posited.
Contrary to the reasoning of the Giwa faction that Nigeria’s constitution is sacrosanct and therefore must be obeyed without sentiments, Kayode insisted that the position taken by acting President Osinbajo then had saved the country from imminent FIFA suspension.
“He (Osinbajo) did not set aside the order of the Supreme Court as you are inferring; what the then acting President did, was to ensure that Nigeria is not taken out of football circle because competitions were going on”, Kayode argued.