By Emmanuel Afonne
Sani Katu, Chairman, Electoral Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has dismissed concerns that the committee has concluded plans to disqualify top contenders in forthcoming election into the NFF Executive Committee.
Katu allayed the fears in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday.
A source who preferred not to be mentioned had told NAN that plans have been concluded to disqualify former NFF President Aminu Maigari and embattled current NFF boss Amaju Pinnick.
The plan according to the anonymous source is to disqualify both contestants during the screening exercise and leave only one candidate Taiwo Ogunjobi knowing that he might not have the support of the congress for the NFF top job.
“After the screening and disqualification of candidates, the electoral committee will open the nomination form for 5 days to pave way for more people to pick form including Shehu Dikko, Chairman of the League Management Company (LMC).
“Ogunjobi and Dikko might be the only ones in the final race and in the end, the LMC will emerge
“Other popular candidates from the zones might be disqualified also before the final contest,” the source said.
But Katu told NAN that the committee had no plan to disqualify any candidate that met the requirement set in the electoral guideline.
“We are already screening candidates and we will be holding our meeting tomorrow (Monday) to know the next step.
“There is no plan to disqualify anybody that is qualified. We have election guideline that guides us. We asked contestants that want to occupy positions to come and obtain a form and fill it according to the guidelines of the election.
“Once we are satisfied with the requirements, I don’t see any reason one should be disqualified; we intend to screen and find out whether the contestants are qualified, and once they are qualified, they are qualified.
“There is no way we can disqualify somebody that is qualified. We are an independent body and we are not going to do anything that is contrary to the guidelines; it’s very clear,” Katu said.
He however, said that there might be change of activities in the timetable if need be but that would be decided in the committee’s meeting scheduled for Monday.
“We cannot rule out the possibility of change of date based on election phenomena; we published a timeline but anything can happen at any time but for now, we are working with our schedule.”
The NFF electoral committee chairman noted that his members were not perturbed or distracted by the current leadership crisis in the country’s football house.
The timetable for the NFF election showed that intending candidates would buy and return their forms between Aug. 17 and Aug. 24, while screening takes place from Aug. 27 to Aug. 29 with names of candidates to be published on Aug. 30.
Protests and appeals will be heard and treated between Sept. 4 and Sept. 6, after same must have been submitted between Aug. 31 and Sept. 3.
Publication of final list of candidates will be released on Sept. 7 and elections into the NFF Executive Committee for 2018 to 2022 will hold on Sept. (NAN)