Giwa Promises Better Welfare For Players, Staff

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De facto president of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has promised better welfare packages for national team players and improved conditions of work for staff of the soccer governing body, following his installation by a Supreme Court ruling.

Giwa made the promises after taking over the NFF secretariat on Monday, minutes after a press release from the ministry of sports directed the incumbent board led by Melvin Amaju Pinnick to vacate office, based on the apex court’s ruling last month.

Under the new tenure, Giwa also promised a reinstatement of camp allowances and bonuses to players in the youth national teams and assured staff of The Glasshouse that he will run an open door policy, different from what they faced under Pinnick.

He stated as much after a short meeting with members of his executive committee, as the Jos-based football club proprietor resumed as NFF president on Monday.

Addressing journalists at The Glasshouse, Giwa said his assumption of office was in line with the ruling of the court on June 5, 2018.

He said the court had nullified the parallel election held in Warri by Pinnick and that it upheld him as the chairman.

Giwa arrived at the NFF secretariat along Olusegun Obasanjo Way, Abuja around 11am with armed police escorts, and went straight in to greet the staff before addressing them in the boardroom.

Giwa said he would not waste time deliberating on past events, and immediately reeled out his plans for Nigerian football.

He promised to support all the national teams particularly the Falconets, who compete at the 2018 U-20 Women’s World Cup in France next month.

The Giwa FC of Jos owner added that his board will not disrupt the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL), as they are preparing to kick off again after the World Cup break.

Some of Giwa’s board members who were with him were chairman Senate Committee on Sports, Senator Obinna Ogba, Shehu Adamu, a board member representing North West, and Sani Fema from the North East.

Others were Johnson Effiong, representing South South, Sunday Ajayi for South West and Yahaya Adamu for North Central.

Incidentally, Ajayi is a member of Pinnick’s board, but he attended Giwa’s meeting with his board members, who were led to the Glass House by a Court Bailiff and Policemen.

Giwa said Nigeria’s sovereignty must not be threatened by any foreign interest and the NFF should operate in tandem with the country’s constitution, and promised to embark on reconciliation of all aggrieved members for the success of the federation.

Giwa said: “We are here by virtue of the mandate we got at the Annual General Assembly of the NFF that took place on 26th August 2014 at Chida Hotel (Abuja), where we were elected into the NFF Executive Committee to serve for four years.

“I am here to claim my mandate as the substantive chairman elected on August 26, 2014. We waited for the other board to finish the preparations for world cup so that we can assume office.

“We are grateful to God for making it possible for us to reclaim our mandate and we shall give Nigerians good results.

“We have plans on ground for all the national teams which we will roll out after our next board meeting on Friday.

“I know that Nigerians want results and my prayer is to get the needed positive results for all the national teams.

“Though, it is one thing to have a good plan and programmes and another thing to get the needed result but I know with God on our side, our national teams will make all Nigerians proud once again.”

It would be recalled that Giwa was elected NFF president on August 26, 2014 in Abuja, but another Congress held a parallel election in Warri on September 30, 2014, where Pinnick also emerged president.

However, Giwa pursued his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), where he lost and was banned from football-related activities by FIFA, but Nigeria’s Supreme Court on June 5 set aside Pinnick’s election and recognised Giwa as president.

FIFA supervised the election in Warri, after it threatened to ban Nigeria from all activities, during which Pinnick eventually got elected with 32 votes out of 44 delegates present, but stepped into office under controversy.

However, on Monday, July 2, sports minister, Solomon Dalung directed Giwa to take over the NFF, based on a memo by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, regarding his interpretation of the Supreme Court ruling.

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