The Supreme Court on Friday refused to make pronouncement on the suit seeking the sacking of the Amaju Pinnick-led Nigeria Football Federation board.
The court instead sent the case back to the Federal High Court in Jos, Plateau State, where the plaintiff, Chris Giwa and his group started with the case in September 2014. The Supreme Court then asked the Jos court to give the case an accelerated hearing.
A five-man panel of the court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, unanimously set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Jos, which had determined that the case could no longer be relisted before the Federal High Court having been earlier withdrawn by the appellants.
Although the Supreme Court upheld the appellants’ contention that they could have the case re-listed before the Federal High Court after their settlement talks broke down, it rejected the plea by the appellants to have the case heard and determined on its merit.
Yahaya Adama of the Giwa group had on September 19, 2014, filed their suit before the Federal High Court in Jos, praying for among others, that they along with others allegedly elected on August 26, 2014, be declared to be the legitimate executive committee members of the NFF.
The defendants to the suit were the former executive committee of the NFF represented by its President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari, and Musa Adamu, the Plateau State Football Association representing the football association in the 36 states of the federation, the Federal Capital Territory, and the sports minister.
The immediate new break on Friday created panic in Nigeria with the World Cup just by the corner. But the Nigeria Football Federation on Friday in Abuja assured Nigerians that there was no reason to get worried about the Supreme Court decision.
The football body, on its twitter handle some moments after the court’s ruling, said the Supreme Court in Abuja did not nullify Amaju Pinnick’s election as NFF President.
It said its reaction followed news to the contrary ongoing on social media.
NFF’s counsel, Festus Keyamo, was quoted in the tweet as saying, “Nobody should cause unnecessary panic in Nigeria’s football. That’s my case. Supreme Court did not nullify Amaju’s election. The Supreme Court did not remove Amaju from office.
“The Court only referred the case back to the Federal High Court to be tried properly, to know which of the elections held in 2014 was right.
“Amaju was not a party to the case at the Supreme Court. So, the court could not have removed a party from office without joining the party and hearing from the party.”