The much-anticipated Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) elections to usher in a new board to oversee the affairs of the country’s football for the next four years may not hold today again after all.
The Street Journal gathered that the chairman of the Electoral committee Barrister Samson Ebomhe, who is saddled with the responsibility of conducting an acceptable election in Warri today, has been whisked away by the men of State Security Services (SSS) at his hotel room in Warri.
He is yet to be released as at press time. The polls are yet to begin in Warri.
The electoral committee yesterday announced that no withdrawals by candidates will be entertained and that all seven presidential candidates have been cleared for the polls.
Nigeria risks an international ban should the electoral process be hindered, FIFA have already warned. The city of Warri is set to host the elective congress of the Nigeria Football Federation, even as fears persist that the end may not be in sight, to the lingering crises that has engulfed Nigeria football since the June 30 elimination of the Super Eagles from the 2014 World Cup.
An anticlimax to the election took place last night at the Hotel de Excel when the seven men jostling to control the NFF engaged one another in a debate. According to a source in Warri, the candidates were given 10 minutes each to unfold programmes envisaged for the federation.
Thereafter the men asked questions by some selected members of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN. A source in Warri, disclosed last night that most of the contestants were yet to arrive last night and will probably storm the city to face the home-boy, Pin¬nick Amaju Melvin, who heads the administration of football in Delta State.
Other contestants are Taiwo Ogunjobi, a former General Secretary and later member of the executive committee in the era of Sani Lulu Abdulahi, Abba Yola of Kano State and Chief Mike Umeh, the current first Vice President.
Others are Amanze Uchegbulam and Domi¬nic Iorfa, who like Ogun¬jobi, served in the execu¬tive committee headed by Sani Lulu Abdulahi. The seventh candidate is Shehu Dikko.
This is the first time since the controversial 2005 NFA elections held in Kano that an elective congress of the football body will hold outside either Lagos as the for¬mer Nigerian capital city or Abuja.
It is expected that there will be ripple ef¬fects, no matter how the election is conducted today. It has been very long that a crisis-free election was conducted to usher in Nigerian football politicians.
Already, the FIFA unrecognised election of August 26 is expected to hunt whatever is the outcome of today’s election.
According to a release last week by the spokesman for the federation, Ademola Olajire, eight of earlier candidates for the elections failed to express willingness to participate and therefore become ineligible.
The key men in that category are Chris Giwa, Obinna Ogba, John¬son Effiong and Segun Odegbami. The latter issued a press statement at the weekend, sending a petition to the sports minister, Dr. Tamuno Danagogo.
If the press release made available by the NFF last night is anything to go bye, his fate is already decided. According to the release, the 2014 Electoral Ap¬peals Committee did not receive any appeal from any aggrieved candidate as at the close of the stipulated period as provided for the NFF 2014 Executive Elections timetable.
The elections will therefore go ahead with the cleared the 37 candi¬dates for the 15 available executive committee positions. However, one position is already decided. Musa Gusau Ibrahim of Zamfara State is returned unopposed following the failure of Johnson Etim Effiong of the South South to indicate interest on the platform Chairman of Chairmen.
As in the past, ag¬grieved candidates are likely to go to court after tomorrow’s exercise even as it is claimed that Chris Giwa had earlier gotten a court injunction barring the exercise. It is widely believed that no one had been available to be served the injunction.