IN the past three years, Chief Mike Adenuga Jr has caused his company, Globacom, to commit up to N3billion to Nigerian football.
Apart from his burning patriotism, the double chief is sports loving. And his ambition has been to lift Nigerian football far higher than it was before he ventured into programmes that he felt would transform the game here.
He has, no doubt, achieved some remarkable success but that is not commensurate to the billions of money he has been pumping into Nigerian football.
Chief Adenuga knows that his money could have doneÂ more for Nigerian football. And as an acute businessman, if what he sets out to achieve is being retarded, a positive option would be to review the business. And thatâ€™s exactly what Chief Adenuga has decided to do with Globacomâ€™s sponsorship of the Premier League which gulps him over N900m a year.
And he made this clear to chairman of the League Board, Chief Oyuki Obaseki, in Lagos shortly after Globacom unveiled the five nominees for this yearâ€™s Glo/CAF awards on Thursday.
â€œChief Adenuga and Obaseki met after the event on Thursday and Chief Adenuga told him that he might no longer be interested in continuing with the sponsorship of the league the way it is currently running,â€ our strong and reliable source told us at the weekend.
The sports section of the Next newspaper recently did a special three-page focus on the League Board, chronicling many questions on accountability and the inability of the clubs to get more sponsorship money than the N10m the league board pays them a year.
All strong cases for the clubs to get moreÂ hadÂ been rejected by the board even after it became a burning issue at the last Annual General Meeting of the board.
Over 50 per cent of sponsorship of the English Premier League goes to the clubs. With Globacom, the clubs receive less than 40 per cent of the total sponsorship money and the board repeatedly says they are modeling the league after the English Premiership.
Our source informed that Chief Adenuga was not happy with the effect of Globacomâ€™s sponsorship of the league on Nigerian football and argues that Nigerian football should have been better on the grounds of his investment.
â€œChief Adenuga was so disappointed that he even told Obaseki that Globacom may no longer be interested in sponsoring the league. There are efforts to make him change his mind but I doubt if that will work because, at the back of his mind is progress for Nigerian football.
If money being pumped in is not making the required impact why continue? It is not about money but about getting results.
Thatâ€™s why what is happening is more of review because Chief Adenuga willÂ not withdraw his contributions from Nigeria and Africaâ€™s sports in general.
But if you come to think of it, what leverage is Globacom gaining from the sponsorship of the league? There are issues about the way they are running the league and Adenuga simply wants the best for Nigeria.
So, if positive changes can be guaranteed, there could be a way out, but right now, things are not encouraging for the man to be excited about progress of Nigerian football,â€ our source said, addingÂ â€œThatâ€™s why he is considering pulling out from the sponsorship of the Premier League and I think he has made up his mind,â€
First vice chairman of NFL Shehu Gusau, last night said that he was aware of Adenugaâ€™s decision but said that the board will be meeting today in Abuja to explore ways to resolve the contending issues.
â€œWe have a team that is expected to meet with the Globacom team to resolve the matters. Hopefully, we will do so,â€ Gusau said last night.