Anambra State FA Election: The Intrigues, Betrayal And Fight Backs
By Amaechi Agbo
On Friday, October 30, 2020, the unthinkable happened in Nigeria’s State Football Association’s electoral history.
The state was Anambra and the venue was the Anambra State Football Association’s (ANSFA) Congress Hall in Awka, the State capital.
The event was the elective congress of the ANSFA, the third one in four months. 20 delegates, most of who were allegedly picked by the former caretaker committee of the ANSFA, Chuwkuemeka Okeke were in attendance to elect a new Executive Board for the state FA.
The build up to the date was not without intrigues as alignment and realignment came to the fore. The state governor, Willie Obiano was dragged into the electoral venture that have now turned to a political misadventures for the powerful in the Nigeria Football Federation.
Obiano/Pinnick Marriage of Inconvenience
In the buildup to the first election held on July 27, 2020, the Anambra state government aligned with the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF President to stymie the election when it was obvious to them that the incumbent, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah will return to his position for a second term. This was not want Amaju Pinnick wanted.
Stakeholders who are privy to the political shenanigans in the state FA told our reporter that the calculation was to ensure that Senator Ubah did not return. Thus the state government on the wee hour of the election day, issued a directive to the State FA not to hold any election in the state in view of the prevailing COVID-19 situation in the state. Although the election later held, and Sen. Ubah returned elected, the NFF vehement opposed the election and described it as a charade.
The Electoral committee, headed by Jude Anyadufu, rescheduled the election for August 2nd, 2020. Now virtually. They obtained National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC permission to go ahead with the election, virtually. The election was conducted, again, Ubah was returned for a second term. Again, NFF kicked and annulled the election claiming that it was conducted against the suspension of football related activities in the country.
A caretaker committee, headed by Chukwuemeka Okeke was hurriedly setup. In the meantime, Mr Okeke is said to be Gov Obiano’s anointed candidate to clinch the position.
With Chukwuemeka Okeke poised to be elected the FA boss, NFF had their own game plan. Pinnick and his power equators who never trusted Gov Obiano in the schemes, had their own candidate; Chikelue Iloenyosi, a Personal Assistant to NFF President, Amaju Pinnick. Pinnick, sources say, were afraid that should Mr Okeke be allowed to contest the election and perhaps wins, the NFF cannot control the state the way it did not control it under Sen. Ubah.
With the selling and buying of forms and screening concluded, an Electoral Appeal Committee was set up.
Mr Iloenyosi lodged series of complaints against his opponent, Mr Okeke, and the verdict? Spuriously, Mr Okeke was disqualified on bases of being a club chairman, being a football intermediary and personally handpicking some members of the electoral delegates.
Determined to reclaim his candidacy, Mr Okeke fought back and was reinstated less than 24 hours before the election.
However, his journey was cut short in the most disgraceful way as he once again, suffered disqualification on the floor of the congress.
Obiano Fights Back.
At this juncture, political watchers in the FA knew that the state football stakeholders had a common enemy, NFF.
Governor Obiano, a source told our reporter, felt betrayed by Amaju Pinnick and needed to fight back to redeem his image. Gov. Obiano was said to have trusted Amaju so much so that he did not know that Mr Iloenyosi was his pet.
“It was a battle of wits, my brother. After Mr Okeke was disqualified again on the floor, the Governor felt betrayed and needed to fight back.
“It would have been a shame and colossal ignominy of immeasurable proportional latitude if the Governor allowed the rascality in the election to hold.
“When it dawned on him that he has been betrayed by Pinnick, the governor rallied round the delegates to thwart the emergence of Mr Iloenyosi as the FA chairman,” he said.
According to Adewale Ajayi, the Senior Advocate of Journalists, SAJ, he said that when the Governor realised that Amaju Pinnick tricked him, he became angry.
“Mr Okeke, the governor’s candidate was disqualified on the floor of the election after an initial disqualification was upturned
“Latest information has it that the governor is pained that Amaju tricked him and has decided to fight back.”
Chikelue Goes Unopposed
Ordinarily, in a typical Nigerian election, when a candidate emerges unopposed for an elective position, the person is as good as the winner already.
However, in Mr Iloenyosi’s case, there was a twist of fate. He stood alone for and as well against himself for the election.
The rule book said that for him to be confirmed as chairman, two-third majority of the delegates MUST endorse him. And this endorsement failed him.
Out of the 20 delegates for the election, only one person endorsed him as chairman, the rest rejected him. It was disastrous.
Adewale Ajayi had this to say about the outcome: “Chikelue should have seen the handwriting on the wall when Bimo (Chinedu Okoye) his vice lost the vice chairmanship position with no vote.”
NFF Weighs Plan B Option
Unlike the August 2, election that the NFF instantly issued a rebuttal press statement nullifying the election, the federation has remained mute since their political sojourn in Anambra turned misadventureous.
Adewale Ajayi says that the federation is scheming for a bye-election any time soon.
“A lot is happening behind the scene
“They (NFF) are proposing a by-election already,” he stated.
“The governor and Amaju are at loggerheads
“There is fire on the mountain”
Mr Iloenyosi Faces Arrest Over Threat To Organise Mass Protest
Following moves to readmit Mr Okeke after his first disqualification, the NFF anointed candidate, Mr Iloenyosi threatened to organise the entire students in Anambra state for a mass protest against the election.
In a 30 seconds video trending on social media, Mr Iloenyosi said the #ENDSARS protest that engulfed Nigeria recently would be a child’s play to what he would do.
“You see what is going on in ENDSARS, that is what is going to happen in Anambra football because I am going to take this thing to the next level if they did not do the right thing.
“The SARS own is small. I am going to organise the whole students in the whole Anambra state to have a protest if the right thing is not done,” he had threatened.
A source told our reporter in confidence that Mr Iloenyosi could go in for it going by the threat he made.