Once again, the government of Nigeria missed a good opportunity to show that it is a nation of laws that must be respected by institutions like FIFA. Though what happened was expected, it was still unpalatable when it happened.
Two weeks ago, Chris Giwa, The Supreme Court-affirmed President of NFF was forcefully removed by Nigeria’s secret police, SSS, from the NFF headquarters. Amaju Pinnick, who was removed by the Supreme Court as NFF president, was the beneficiary of that action by the SSS.
A quick recap of events leading up to the ejection of Giwa from the Glass House. Giwa had gone with his team to the headquarters of the NFF. He had already started making some policy statements as the new NFF President.
It was his right according to the Supreme Court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
But a few days later, some personnel from the SSS came to the glass house and ignominiously ‘chased’ Giwa and his people out of the Glass House like some unruly kids harried off the playground by an angry head teacher.
Apparently, this was done to save Nigeria from a FIFA ban. So once again, the people who make this decision for us have clearly missed the point.
They have just told FIFA and the rest of the watching world that the laws of a footballing organization are superior to ours.
It is this second class mentality of our leaders that is one of the biggest problems the country has faced since independence. Anything or anybody with the ‘foreigner’ (white man specifically, aka oyibo) automatically gets privileges that are reserved for our VIPs.
It is attitude like this that makes it possible for Indians, Lebanese, and Chinese people in Nigeria to run around with impunity without consequences.
You see them moving around with armed mobile policemen as their personal security guard. God help you if you dare to challenge the ‘oyibo’ for breaking the law or something. The mobile police would beat you to an inch of your life. That is if they don’t simply shoot you dead.
Back to the issue of the NFF. The way things stand today, Amaju Pinnick is the usurper. He is illegally parading himself as the NFF Chairman.
After Giwa was thrown out of the Glass House, he issued a statement that this wasn’t the end of the matter. The Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalong, spoke along the same lines too.
Sorry Minister, you would have done exactly the same if you were in control of the security forces and your candidate was sacked by the Supreme Court.
It is because of people like the minister and his peers that we find ourselves in a situation where we have a scant regard for our laws. To them, might is always right.
But it still grates on the nerve that we could allow our country to be abused by FIFA.
America has been on FIFA’s neck for several years now. They have hounded and arrested FIFA officials around the world for corruption. As a matter of fact, it was because of the Americans that Sepp Blatter, the ex-FIFA president lost his job.
So how come FIFA didn’t ban or suspend America for interfering with a football?
Compared to Nigeria, what America did was even worse. But FIFA can’t touch them because as a sovereign nation (just like Nigeria) Americans would never subjugate the laws of their country to make a sporting body happy.
Amanju Pinnik and his friends think they are helping Nigeria. But their selfish interest simply entrenched a culture of disregard for the highest court in Nigeria.
It is from this sort of mindset that an INEC chairman refused to obey the Supreme Court. And when he was summoned to explain why he refused to carry out the order of the nation’s highest court, he refused to honor that invitation.
Now, he is protesting that he can’t be held in contempt. In his mind, what is he doing differently that the executive arm of government, elites and other ‘big men’ haven’t done several times and gotten away with scot-free? Absolutely nothing.
He is simply following in the footsteps of his paymasters who in turn are simply trotting the worn-out path of our leaders disrespecting the laws of the land.
Amanju Pinnik, enjoy the spoils of illegality. You earned it.