BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
With elections into the various states’ football associations gathering momentum, political scheming is also creeping in.
A chairmanship aspirant into the Benue State Football Association, Robert Terlumun Akpenpuun has cried out, alleging a discriminatory clause in the electoral guidelines for the state which is targeted at him.
The offensive clause, which is item “h” of the guidelines reads: “The candidate (for chairmanship) must not be in the employment of any government or its agencies or an aid to any government official.”
Akpenpuun works in the Nigerian Immigration Service and has been involved in the activities of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) as a member of the protocol committee.
He is also an NFF Match Assessor. On his line of duties, The Nigeria Immigration officer cum member Nigeria Football Federation Protocol committee ushered in top football personalities to Nigeria such as FIFA President, Giannini Infantino; CAF President, Ahmad; Athletico Madrid Coach Diego Simone among others.
The discriminatory clause was not in the guidelines that the state used in the 2015 election. According to Akpenpuun, he is a direct target of the inclusion of the offensive clause.
The election into the Benue State FA is scheduled to hold on Wednesday February 13. Akpenpuun has therefore petitioned the General Secretary of the NFF, pointing out that even the guidelines used for the 2018 NFF election and the general electoral code is devoid of the discriminatory clause being adopted by the Benue State Football Association.
He further pointed out that the current chairperson, Margaret Chene was a Federal Character Commissioner at the time of her election in 2015 and remained so till 2016.
Akpenpuun averred that the inclusion of a clause banning public and civil servants from the Benue State FA election is therefore self-serving.
Besides that, he pointed out various states’ FAs who are either serving public officers or civil servants. Such include that of Niger State who is a deputy director.
Others include those of Jigawa State who is civil servant with the state’s ministry of finance, while the FA chairman of Gombe State is also the Accountant General of the state.
Others in similar situations are those of Bauchi State, a permanent secretary; Ogun State, a civil servant; the Federal Capital Territory, a director of administration of the NNPC; Kogi State, a director of finance in the state while that of Nasarawa State is a revenue officer in the state.
Akpenpuun also pointed out that the late Ekiti State FA chairman; Ayodeji Alabi was also the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in the state.
Akpenpuun, in his petition to the NFF General Secretary asked Dr. Mohammed Sanusi to use his good offices and intervene by asking for the removal of the discriminatory clause.