By Ikeddy Isiguzo
SOME may not notice the gradual death of football, which will ultimately affect the health of sports. Some think the growing number of factions in the Nigeria Football Association (it insists on calling itself Nigeria Football Federation, illegal as it knows the name is) does not mean anything.
There is a huge tendency to ignore it. More people will flock to the court to stake their interests. FIFA will say its bit or even ignore us. Our destiny has always been in our hands and we make a fanfare of destroying it under barely veiled guises.
Why would there be factions of the Nigeria Football Association? There may be many reasons. The most outstanding one is that we do not respect our laws, the same laws that we subscribe to, the same laws under which we assume office, and the same laws that we swear to obey.
It takes very little knowledge of the law to know that the NFA by the fact that it changed its name (a name that Act 101 of 1992 established) without passing through the National Assembly to amend the law, is an illegal organisation. Our laws do not know the Nigeria Football Federation.
Another point is that the Statutes of the NFA were massively violated in the reckless bid to enthrone the present board which is a part of the one impeached after the disgraceful performance of the Eagles at the 2010 World Cup.
By Wednesday, the Eagles are to play Argentina, the biggest game here since Brazil made an appearance in Abuja 0n 11 June 2003. Who will receive the Argentines? Another wave of crisis in our football takes the game closer to death. Some say it needs to die before it can grow again.
Remember Numa Uzor? He’s Gone
By Eze Edwin Boyeze
Two sports administrators in the old Anambra State, Professor Simon Umedum and Chief Numa Hyacinth Uzor passed on to eternity in March 2011. Late Professor Umedum took over from Chief Uzoh in 1987 and it is ironical that they died within a two-month interval.
Chief Uzoh, a.k.a “Ebiogwu’’, meaning the porcupine, was appointed Secretary General of Nigeria Football Association, NFA in 1976. A 1967 graduate of the University of Ibadan with a second class upper degree in History/Political Science, he joined the East Central State Sports Council, in 1970, which then comprised of all the five States of the South East political zone of today.
A seasoned writer and a veteran broadcaster, Numah was an avid reader, and an accomplished journalist. With other sports gurus like late Chief Jerry Enyeazu and late coach Dan Anyiam, he was one of the founders and mentors of the indomitable Rangers International Football Club.
Later in 1974, Chief Uzoh joined the National Sports Commission, NSC. He returned to Enugu in 1986 as the Director of Sports, Anambra State Sports Council, rising to the position of Director of Sports Services in the Ministry of Sports.
He was instrumental to the establishment of a ministry specifically for Youth and Sports. It is on record that while he was with the NSC from 1974- 1986 he served as Secretary of the following Associations – Nigeria Amateur Volleyball Association, Nigeria Amateur Basketball Association, Nigeria Amateur Cricket Association, and Nigeria Amateur Gymnastics Association.
He was secretary of the 1st ECOWAS Games in 1977, the only one held, and later a lecturer in Advanced Sports Management at the National Institute for Sports, NIS, 1979_ 1981. He was the Chief Administrative Officer and Head of Administration NSC, 1981_ 1986.
I met him in 1986 while I was the Sports Editor of Satellite Newspapers. He had obliged me an interview as the Anambra State Director of Sports. Flt Lt Okpara the sole administrator of football in Anambra State Sports Council facilitated the exclusive interview.
He appreciated the wide coverage of the interview and a few months later in October 1986, he employed me as the Public Relations Officer of Anambra State Sports Council, a rare feat granted a “Wawa” boy by an “Ijekebe” man. He stood his ground when some of his relatives kicked against my appointment, insisting I was most qualified for the post at that time.
His assurance and rugged defence of my appointment prepared me for the task ahead. It was through him that the Igbo adage, “Nwanne di na mba”, a brother can be found across towns and countries, made meaning to me.
People converged at his country home at Unahu Agboba Village, Okija in Ihiala local government area of Anambra State on 19 May when the great Uzoh, 68, was interred.
Fare thee well, Chief Numa Hyacinth Uzoh.
…..Eze is Director of Information Enugu State Sports Council
My Comments: My condolences to the Uzohs. I knew Chief Uzoh when he was at the NSC decades back. I remember his brilliance. He was possibly the only one who could explain anything and it made sense, even if it was cricket. May he find peace in the Almighty.