Why is Maigari proving a tough nut to crack?

Getting rid of a sitting governor in Nigeria has never been difficult if those who want him out go for it.

In the 80s, when in secondary school, I read in the news of the removal of Alhaji Balarabe Musa who went into the records books as the first Nigerian governor to be impeached. He was governor of Kaduna State.

Between then and now Nigeria has seen a couple of them- Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa State, Ngige of Anambra who was actually removed by the courts and most recently Murtala Nyarko.

Not that impeaching a state governor had ever been as easy as ABC, but those who wanted it eventually got their way.

Removing Kojo Williams

In Nigerian football, as far as my memory serves me, the first impeachment I witnessed happened in 2000 when Anthony Kojo Williams was impeached by his board members and replaced with Dominic Oneya.

It was smooth, a meeting was called, a motion was moved and he was gone. There was not much drama around it but that was just the beginning.

Removing Ibrahim Galadima

Following Nigeria's failure to qualify for the Germany 2006 World Cup, some 'stakeholders' decided to remove him from office.

In December 2005, Galadima called for elections in Kano, his home city and the elections conducted by Nduka Irabor was said to be the freest and fairest which Galadima won.

Backed by the Sports minister, Samaila Sambawa and recognized by FIFA, the stakeholders fought on and Amos Adamu was "contracted" to put the final mail on the coffin.

FIFA secretary, Urs Linsi was allegedly compromised and he agreed to and backed a kangaroo congress in Abuja that removed Galadima.

In July 2006, Sani Lulu (Director of Sports FCT) polled 75 out of 97 votes as the new NFA chairman, Lumumba Adeh was second with 16votes while Segun Odegbami had 6votes.

Removing Sani Lulu

On 24th July 2008, at the Annual General Congress of the NFA in Markudi, the congress changed the name of the NFA to NFF, and also changed the position of the chairman to President and vice chairman to vice president.

Lulu also made some other sweeping changes that would ensure it would be impossible for him to lose an election.

The elective congress was shifted to August after the World Cup in 2010 and those eligible to vote were taken on an all expenses paid trip to South Africa for the World Cup.

The congress also decided that the State FA elective congresses will now be held in November/December after the Federation elective congress in the same World Cup year.

The congress also amended the statutes such that the only way to get into the NFF would be through the state FA.

Implications

The implication of these changes gave the president sweeping powers as he now gets to constitute both the electoral and appeals committee of an election he would contest in.

It also made it difficult to contest against the incumbent.

These changes simply meant that the incumbent can put those loyal to him into the state FAs to guarantee his return at the next elections.

And to ensure he had their loyalties sorted, he sponsored over 300 people (state  FA chairmen, secretaries and other members) to the 2010 world cup.

After the World Cup another 'stakeholders group’ led by Chris Green removed the Lulu led board.

On July 4, 2010, the NFF president, lulu, his vice, Amanze Uchaegbulam and technical committee chairman, Taiwo Ogunjobi were impeached from their positions. Aminu Maigari and Obinna Ogba were appointed as president and vice respectively.

Removing Maigari

As it occurs every four years, Maigari started early to perfect plans to return.

He continued Lulu’s tactic of taking congress members on trips abroad.

He also banned any perceived political opponent to ensure he would be returned without much problems.

Baribote Rumsen got a fifteen year ban; Taiwo Ogunjobi was banned for ten years; Leye Adepoju was banned for ten years.

Some journalists, who did not “write in their favour” were also banned from covering football activities or appearing at any Stadium.

One that comes to mind is Jide Fashekun.

A lot happened during the World Cup and it became obvious that Aminu Maigari would be cast aside like others in the past.

Soon after the World Cup ended, he was whisked away by security operatives for questioning, then a court in Jos Plateau State removed the board and “forced” the Sports Minister to appoint an acting General Secretary.

Then FIFA suspended Nigeria and the court issue was vacated and things returned to normalcy.

Maigari still standing strong

The Executive Committee met two weeks ago and dismissed the president as FIFA would love it to happen but with the congress to ratify it a week later on July 31, things began to change.

With the board calling a congress, and members arriving in Abuja, the lobbying and horse trading began a few days early.

However, those who removed Maigari could not get enough members of the congress on their side and there came about the fear of things turning against them.

IF these members of congress cannot support your bid to ratify Maigari’s dismissal, what is to say, they won’t turn around and even impeach you on the day.

In a smart move, the board met on Wednesday, July 30 and postponed the congress indefinitely to buy time.

The FA chairmen, knowing they now had the advantage held a meeting on Thursday, July 31, returning Aminu Maigari as president and urging those who wanted him out to wait until elections.

But did they have a right to do what they did and was their decision binding on anyone?

What happened in Abuja on July 31 could not have been called a Congress meeting because it was not properly convened as the statutes say.

But Maigari’s removal had still not been ratified because the Congress did not meet eventually.

Why can’t they get Maigari out?

Apparently, someone did not read the scripts of 2006 and 2010 and this issue has dragged on for too long.

With just three weeks left to the elective congress, does Maigari’s dismissal still matter?

There are issues that need to be resolved before the elections and the Congress must meet to do these but with numbers not on the side of the powers that be, will the congress sit anytime soon?

While Maigari “stands strong” Nigeria’s football suffers.
A crucial AFCON qualifying match comes up in four weeks but the national team has no coach; there are rumours that the Federation Cup final scheduled to August 16 may be postponed and of course the elective congress may be postponed too.



Aminu Maigaris still standing strong and proving a tough nut to crack because someone did not read the scripts of 2006 and 2010
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