The crisis within the Akwa Ibom State Football Association (AKSFA) has escalated into a legal battle as some members of the association have turned to the High Court in Uyo, the state capital, seeking redress against the nullification of the May 22nd election of the new Executive by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
It was gathered that following the replacement of the elected executive with a Football Association Normalisation Committee (FANC) headed by Prince Boniface Nyong, tensions rose among stakeholders who vehemently contested the NFF’s unilateral actions, describing them as illegal, unlawful, and a usurpation of powers in contravention of relevant sections of the NFF statutes.
In response, the aggrieved members of the association, led by Mr. Emmanuel Eduoku and Mr. Richard Ekong, Chairman of Ibesikpo Asutan Council, joined by 19 other Local Council Chairmen, filed a suit (No HU/411/23) at the Court. Their demands include the removal of the Interim Management Committee and the reinstatement of the previously elected Executive Committee.
The suit further stipulates several demands, notably seeking a declaration that the NFF President, Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau, lacks the authority to interfere with the AKSFA’s Executive Committee.
They also demand a declaration that the AKSFA should only adhere to NFF directives related to the promotion, organisation, control, and registration of Association Football.
Additionally, the aggrieved members are seeking a financial award of N20 million against the NFF President, Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau, for wrongful interference and usurpation of the state FA’s management.
They contest the dissolution of the Executive Committee of the 31 Local Governments’ Football Associations and demand recognition of the previously elected AKSFA Executive.
The lawsuit challenges the legitimacy of the Normalisation Committee’s involvement in managing football matters in Akwa Ibom state, arguing that it encroaches upon the rightful powers and duties of the elected Executive Committee.
Although a hearing date for the case has not yet been scheduled, the Court is expected to deliberate on whether the dissolution of the Executive Committee without prior notice of any alleged infractions and without affording the affected members an opportunity to be heard breaches their right to fair hearing.