Ekiti House of Assembly has waded into the crisis rocking the State Football Association with an appeal to the two warring factions to maintain peace.
The Chairman, House Committee on Public Petitions, Olajide Adegoke, made the appeal during a meeting with the state’s football stakeholders in Ado-Ekiti on Saturday.
Adegoke urged the two factions to maintain peace pending the consideration of a petition pending before a joint committee of the House’s committees on Public Petitions, and Youth and Sports.
“I pleaded with the two factions to sheathe their swords and consider the interest of Ekiti and its football development,” he urged.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that a group named Ekiti Concerned Football Stakeholders had sent to the House on an alleged illegal conduct of elections.
The group had said the elections imposed on the state football family a set of executive committee members of the State Football Association.
Speaking on behalf of the petitioners at the meeting, Tanwa Oyebode, alleged that six suspended members of the Association were among those who conducted the elections.
“The suspension of the six members was ratified by a Congress, before the installation of Bayo Lanlege as new Chairman of the association.”
He called for the dissolution of the Lalenge-led executive committee and demanded for the constitution of duly elected officials of the Football Association in the state.
NAN also reports that some of the allegations against Lanlege by the petitioners included exploitation of footballers in the state and running foul of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) laws, among others.
While responding, Lalenge had said the petitioners were not an affiliate of the NFF and therefore were not recognised by the laws governing the Association.
“My purported suspension was politically motivated. The constituted disciplinary committee is illegal and alien to the Association,” he said.
The State Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Michael Awopetu who was present at the meeting, said the state government could not unnecessarily interfere in the affairs of the Association.
He pointed out that this was as stipulated by NFF and FIFA laws.
“The state government and relevant stakeholders have intervened severally with the hope of resolving the issue, but all was to no avail,” Awopetu said.
He enjoined the two factions to avoid any action that could lead to the state being suspended from all NFF and FIFA activities.
(Edited by Huseyn Mbar and Olawale Alabi)