By Kate Obodo
As election for the new board of Nigeria Football Association, NFA comes up in August this year,Â former vice chairman of the association, Barrister Richard Nwabufo Obienu has said Nigeria needsÂ fresh Board members who are passionate and have a wide knowledge of the game to transformÂ the countryâ€™sÂ football better than what it is today.
Barrister Obienu said his reason for wanting a new Board for the NFA is because the present administrators in charge of the NFA have done more harm to the countryâ€™s football than good. Speaking on phone to Saturday Vanguard from his Enugu base, he said that the president, Sanni Lulu Abdullahi, secretary general, Bolaji Ojo-Oba, and first vice president, Amanze Uchegbulam and others on the Board should be out for better administrators to govern the countryâ€™s football.
He said that they have not only exhausted their tenure butÂ notÂ good enough and have brought damage to Nigeriaâ€™s football.
â€œThe point is that there is nothing these people can offer again to NigerianÂ football. The number ofÂ years they have served has produce nothing or contributed nothing. There is something that isÂ happeningÂ to football in other countries that is not happening to us,â€ he began.
â€œThe question is, do I want Lulu and others to be re-elected into the NFA board again? And I say no! I believe there is going to be a divine intervention after the World Cup, we just need to wait. We might even be lucky that Nigerians might chase them (NFA) without knowing. They have dealt seriously withÂ the countryâ€™sÂ football. Like I keep saying,Â I want to be proven wrong .
â€œI have always said from the onset that these people (NFA) cannot take us to the promised land. To take somebody to the promised land, you mustÂ know where the promised land is. HereÂ people do not know where it is, all they do is forÂ their selfÂ interest. The issue is that this country needs a backbone that will give the NFA a new lease of life.
Can Segun Odegbami do the job? I say he can not do it because he has tried it once and did not do well. And you can ask me who can do the job I say Obienu can do it, that isÂ the truth. IfÂ I want to doÂ it, I can because IÂ have done things better than this before which people can attest to, especially when I was serving the country.
Have you asked yourself this question, Why is the NFF and the NSC quarrelling over money now? May be Nigerians are not aware of the World Cup preparation bonusÂ that FIFA takes charge of, what they give is more than $1m dollars.
Every match played, whetherÂ win or lose,Â FIFAÂ gives $1m dollars. Does the Nigerian government know that FIFA pays for accommodations, transport and other things for the World Cup?Â Do they also know that FIFA pays for the players and officials.
Why must Nigerian government pay N1.3 billion for the Eagles to play at the World Cup? There some vital issues or things that the money wouldÂ have been used for instead of lavishing it. Go to some states they lack social amenities. And here we are wasting money. The money they generate from FIFA during the World Cup where doÂ they take it to? And when the World Cup starts, everybody will go on the government delegation, is that how it is in other countries?
Looking at it, would you call this a serious country? And people say it shall be well some day. How possible will it be when we do not start correcting things. Up till now, nobody has gotten the full gist on how the missing money in the NFA office got lost. Let them give us the budget of Nigeriaâ€™s qualification to South AfricaÂ and you will run away. Can you see the height of disgrace and shame they have brought to this country? WeÂ can only succeedÂ when we know the truth.Â How can a coach who have qualified the country for the second time not be allowed to lead the team to the World Cup? I believe there is repercussion for any evil act .
Tell me, is there anything bad making Lagerback the technical adviser and Shaibu Amodu the chiefÂ coach? These are the things that must beÂ sorted out before we move forward. Football is a gold mine but not the way Nigeria is going about it. The only money NFA should provide for is the match bonus which FIFA does not make provision for.
A competent NFA can get sponsorship from corporate bodies for the match bonus without disturbing government. What they should provide for is the match bonus, every other thing, FIFA have made provision for,â€ he concluded.