12 December 2012

Nigeria: Controversial NPL Congress Holds

Finally, and amidst allegations and counter-allegations, the seventh congress of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) as directed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) held yesterday at Prix-Air Hotel, Wuse Zone 6, Abuja.

Representatives of 19 Premier League clubs were in attendance. However, it was not without controversies as no member of the NPL board was represented and the congress had to set aside articles 15, 24, 25 and 26 of the Nigeria Premier League statutes-procedures for convening a congress to legitimize the deliberations of its 7th congress.

A communiqué issued at the end of the congress and read out by chairman communiqué drafting committee, S. A. Aluko, said the congress invoked article 22(n) of NPL and unanimously resolved that the NPL board as presently constituted be dissolved and directed the acting executive secretary of the NPL, Tunji Babalola to take over the affairs of the league pending further directives from the Nigeria Football Federation.

The congress also among other things adopted the proposed kick off date of February 16, 2013 for the 2012/2013 football season while the draws and pre-season activities for the 2012/2013 league season will hold in Kano at a date to be announced.

The congress lifted the suspension of Akin Akinbobola from the NPL activities and stated that the purported suspension of Chief Okey Kpalukwu and Faruk Yarma by the NPL chairman from league body activities was not in line with the NPL statutes and declared it null and void.

Among other decisions, the congress also reversed the decision of the board to expel Ocean Boys from the league, stating that the action took by the board lacked due process.

The NPL congress came on barely less than 24 hour after the board of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) had asked Victor Rumson Baribote to step aside as the chairman of the league pending the outcome of the investigation of allegations of impropriety levelled against him.

The board resolved that while he will be on the sideline, the Vice Chairman, Alhaji Shehu Garba Gusau should assume duty as Acting Chairman, pending the outcome of the report of a three-man investigation Committee.

The decision was contained in the communiqué issued by six members of the board after a marathon meeting at the NPL secretariat in Abuja Monday.

Clubs represented at yesterday congress include ABS FC, Akwa United, Dolphin, Enyimba, Gombe United, Heartland FC, Jigawa Golden Stars, Kaduna United, Kano Pillars and Kwara United.

Others are Lobi Stars, Ocean Boys, Rangers FC, Rising Stars, Sharks FC, Sunshine Stars, Warri Wolves, Wikki Tourists and Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC). Also in attendance were representatives of El-Kanemi Warriors FC, Nasarawa United and Bayelsa United while NFF observers present are Suleiman Kwande, Emeka Iyama and Shehu Adamu.

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