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Ebonyi Rejects Emergence Of Senator Ogba As State FA Chairman

From Ignatius Okpara, Abakaliki

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Ebonyi state government through its ministry of Youth and Sports development, has rejected the recent election that produced Senator Obinna Ogba, Chairman of the state football Association FA.

African Examiner reports that Ogba, who is the chairman Senate Committee on Sports, was re- elected as the state (FA) chairman on June 1st, 2019, in a controversial election which has continued to generate mixed reactions among football stakeholders in the state.

Ogba, has been the chairman of the association in the state for the past 10 years, and was re- elected for another four years tenure, despite serious opposition.

Permanent Secretary in the ministry Mr Jonathan Okoronkwo, who bared the mind of the state government on the election, said Wednesday in Abakaliki that the election did not follow the stipulated guidelines for the conduct of state FA elections which made it seek the election’s postponement from the Nigeria football federation NFF, as recommended by the review committee it set-up which he headed.

According to the permanent Secretary, “We discovered that the electoral committee did not offer the contestants, a ‘level-playing ground’ to contest while the manner in which the delegates (electorate) emerged was faulty.

“The committee profiled the delegates and discovered that they are not engaged in football administration as stipulated in the guidelines and one of them belonged to a club owned by an interested party in the elections and there is no way such a person can be an unbiased voter” he stated.

He noted that the committee further discovered that the electoral committee was set up in 2014 and oversaw the 2015 state FA election which means it has overstayed its tenure of four years.

“The election was supposed to be held at the Pa Ngele Oruta stadium Abakaliki but it was instead held inside a hotel in the town and the electoral guidelines stipulate that representatives of the ministry should observe and supervise the election as even contained in the programme of events for the election.

Okoronkwo added: “that the ministry will properly review events surrounding the conduct of the election but advises aggrieved contestants to seek redress at the appropriate quarters.

“The claim by the NFF officials that the request for the election’s postponement amounted to interference by government is wrong because the ministry provides the logistics for the FA to operate in the state such as office accommodation.

“The FA secretary is an appointee of government and they will not see these facts as interference but when the government insists that the right things be done to improve football in the state, it will be termed interference.

An NFF Board Member who supervised the election, Chief Chidi Okenwa, had said that the NFF viewed the request by the Ebonyi sports ministry as government interference on the FA executive board and congress of the state.

“The appeals committee has complied with provisions of the Ebonyi FA status and guidelines for elections into the executive board and standing on his platform we are empowered to monitor this election,” he said.

In his reaction, Chairman of the state FA Electoral Committee, Mr. Onyebuchi Ekuma, said during the election the committee was properly constituted while the elected officials satisfied all requirements to contest the election.

 

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