By Olawale Ayeni, Abuja
Chairman of the Anambra State Football Association, Senator Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah has described the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and Anambra State government’s role in the state’s FA election as external interference.
Citing NFF statute, which frowned at government interference, Ubah insisted that State FA election is an internal matter and only the electoral committee has the power to annul or accept the result of the election.
The electoral committee had on August 2, 2020, announced Senator Ifeanyi Ubah as the winner of the election but the NFF rejected the result, saying they weren’t aware of the election. The NFF then set up a caretaker committee.
Speaking to newsmen yesterday after meeting with the minister of Youth and Sports Development and other stakeholders in Abuja, Ubah insisted that he remains the elected chairman of the FA having fulfilled all the electoral procedures. He backed his claim with 169 pages of illegal acts of NFF’s that contravened the football rule books.
“I am the FA chairman; I conducted an election that followed due process. Forms were on sale but no one got a form to contest my position, nobody appealed that he was not allowed to exercise his franchise, but the state government illegally interfered in the process”.
“Even the DG of the NCDC gave us an approval to carry out our election, only for the state NCDC to place a ban on the election.’’
“If the government can lift the ban on churches, markets and other social gatherings, why ban an election that was just for 28 persons and scheduled to be held in a hall that can accommodate over 200 people.”
“They used police to threaten the electoral committee on the day of the election.”
According to him, “We also went ahead to do a virtual election in collaboration with some top organisations in Nigeria, but much interference came from the state and NFF.”
Ubah further said that the State FA has not gotten a dime as subvention or royalty from the government in the last six years but the government is quick to step into football matters, citing COVID rule as a hindrance against the election processes.
The chairman, Anambra State Sports Development Commission, Tony Oli, debunked the alleged government interference on the activities of the state FA, adding that the matter will be resolved and will usher a new chapter for the development of football in the state.
“The state government is not interfering in any football matter. I’m confident that the matter will be resolved and football development will be taken to the next level.”
After the three-hour meeting, the minister of sports is expected to give his verdict on the matter later this week.