By Victor Okoye
Abuja, Nov. 14, 2022 (NAN) The Appeal Court of the Federal Capital Territory Division has fixed Nov. 21 for ruling on a suit lodged before the Federal High Court Abuja by the Professional Footballers Association of Nigeria (PFAN).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a Court of Appeal in Abuja, had on Sept. 29 vacated the order of interim injunction that barred the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) from going ahead with its elective congress fixed for Sept. 30 in Benin.
The plaintiff had, among other things, prayed the court to direct the NFF and Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to halt further action on the elective congress of Nigeria’s football body, pending the determination of its case before the court.
PFAN had gone to court to ask for an amendment of the 2010 NFF Statutes, which led to Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja on September 15 stopping the NFF elections slated for Benin City.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, ruling on an ex-parte motion, ordered the Youth and Sports Development Minister and the NFF President, or any person acting on their instruction, to maintain the status quo.
The players union was advocating for equal representation for all the five statutory bodies that make up the NFF as it relates to voting rights and representation on the NFF board.
Meanwhile, dissatisfied with the order, the NFF approached the Appellate Court with an application to set the order aside.
While granting NFF’s application on Sept. 29, the Court held that the lower court erred in law which occasioned a miscarriage of justice when his lordship held parties are hereby ordered to maintain status quo ante pending the final order of the court.
The appellate court held that the lower court lacked the jurisdiction to grant an order not prayed for.
It also noted that the learned trial lower court erred in law for making the ex-parte order.
It further held that the case reverts to Oct. 31 for hearing, saying ex-parte order by the provision of the Federal High Court Rules and the settled state of the law, shall not last for more that 14 days.
The NFF would go ahead to hold its elective congress on Sept. 30 in Benin, which produced Ibrahim Gusau as the new President of the federation.
Harrison Jalla, the Chairman, Professional Footballers Association of Nigeria (PFAN) Taskforce told the NAN that the body was staying put in the treanches as they anxiously await the ruling of the court as all parties have formally joined issues.
“The fight to bring equity, fair and equal representation to the Nigeria Football Federation, its Congress, Executive Board and Sub-Committees continues.
“The Appeal Court of the FCT Division has fixed Nov. 21 for ruling as parties have formally joined issues.
“The PFAN task force has since challenged the ambiguous Court of Appeal Sept. 29 ruling with a 77 page response and its prepared to head to the Supreme court if not satisfied with the final ruling of the court.
On the issue of an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process initiated by the Appellants which first sitting took place on Oct. 5 at Reno Hotels Abuja, Jalla revealed that no progress had been made so far.
“The Deputy Governor of Edo State Comrade Philip Shuaibu also joined the ADR process on the Oct. 11 with a formal invitation of members of the PFAN task force to Government House Benin City.
“No further progress has been made in the last one month.
“The PFAN task force continues to assure all Nigeria current and retired Footballers World wide that there is no alternative to reforms in Nigeria Football.
“That the monopoly of the States Football Association Chairmen that has grossly retarded the growth of Nigeria Football is being confronted frontally by the PFAN task force and must be broken,” he said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)