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‘YOU SERVE NFF IN VAIN’ AS BENUE FA ELECTORAL COMMITTEE RULES AGAINST NATIONAL SERVICE

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA

An aspiring chairman for the Benue Football Association, Robert Terlumun Akpenpuun has been disqualified from contesting on account of serving Nigerian football at national and international level instead of localizing his services to Benue State.

The electoral committee on Thursday based its decision on Article 2.1a of the Benue FA Electoral Guidelines.

Robert Terlumun Akpenpuun

It reads: “To be eligible for the position of Chairman, the candidate must have been involved in football management and administration for a period of at least five unbroken years, preceding the date of election and must show concrete and verifiable evidence.”

Robert Terlumun Akpenpuun has been a member of the Protocol Committee of the NFF and has been a football referee and a Nigeria Professional football league assessor.

A letter of attestation from NFF amounts to nothing in Benue FA

In the line of duty to football, he was the protocol officer that was always on ground to receive visiting teams and football officials as well as rendering immigration services to Nigerian teams travelling out and returning.

Such were also rendered to Benue State club, Lobi Stars during their continental assignments this year. For the services, the Benue State club wrote a letter of commendation to him.

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While the NFF appreciates Akpenpuun’s services, Benue FA decries such national and international services to Nigerian football

Even though the electoral guidelines are not specific that the years of unbroken services must be at state level, the committee went ahead to disqualify Akpenpuun.

Months ago, he has been crying out that about attempts to scheme him out of the election.

Last January, he cried out on a discriminatory clause in the electoral guidelines for the state, which was targeted at him.

The offensive clause, which was item “h” of the guidelines read: “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.

That 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. It took a directive from the NFF for the clause to be expunged.

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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