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NFF elections, Akwa United and other stories

By Paul Bassey
“P
innick  disclosed  that  the  tenure  of  the Boards of the Leagues, under which umbrella Kawu became Member of the NFF Executive Committee, has expired.

The tenure of the Boards of the Nigeria National League, Nigeria Women Football League and the Nigeria Nationwide League has come to an end. Alhaji Kawu is no longer a Member of the NFF Executive Committee.”

I am not always very comfortable with “hear say”. I came back from a CAF assignment in Egypt two weeks ago to hear that a board member of the NFF was querried. Dili Onyedinma’s sin was that she had gone to the media to vent her anger as regards the reported poor state of the women game in Nigeria.

My story teller said in an effort to sign off for the season the women Super Six was taken to Umuahia and the clubs came out with complaints galore, bemoaning lack of sponsorship and the dismal quality of organization etc.

For Mrs Onyedinma, this was a campaign against her, one that is coming on the eve of the elections and she decided to fight back.

The story goes further to say that she admitted the women game had suffered but that she should not be held responsible. She pointed accusing fingers at her colleagues in the board who she said contributed in her failure. Off camera, she mentioned names. On camera she said she was ready for a fight.

On the basis of the above, she was queried.

The day our girls were knocked out of the All Africa Games, the Sports Editor of the Sun, George Aluo called for my comments and I told him without mincing words that our women lifted us when the men let us down. That we have never had problems in Africa, winning with wide margins of 10-0, 7-0 etc, but that to see us now been beaten black and blue, thrown out of the Olympics by Equatorial Guinea ( We even drew in Abuja-Abomination- could not win the All Africa Games …….then there was cause for concern.

Today, on the FIFA ranking we are on the all time low of 38 in the world!

The domestic league is another story entirely. Poor organization, no sponsors or partners, walk overs galore…..so many regrets, only for the Chair person of the Women League to come out FIVE YEARS AFTER to lay blame on the doorsteps of her colleagues.

That is my quarrel, why NOW? Why did she not shout out before now? How did the NFF Board stop her and her colleagues from elevating the standard of the women game especially in the area of sponsorship? Is her reaction also political, coming on the heels of a belated and over due election? Is the NFF query a function of her washing the dirty linen of the soccer ruling body in public?

Women football in Nigeria is comatose and yearns for a new breadth of life.

What took me back to this was a news piece released last week by the hard working media chief of the NFF Mr Demola Olajire, where the President of the NFF Mr Amaju Pinnick came out fuming, pummeling Alhaji Kawu, Chairman of the Amateur league board. In the course of his response he revealed that Alhaji Kawu’s tenure of board of the NFF had expired and that he could not speak for the board. Really? True?

Interesting, very interesting. That took me on a research assignment and I was shocked to discover that the elections into the boards of the Women League, the Amateur league and the National league was last held in 2011. Specifically on January 29 2011. In other words elections into these boards should have been held over a year ago.

Question. What, is stopping these elections? Why was Alhaji Kawu not stopped from attending board meetings? How come the NFF President just realized that Alhaji Kawu “…is not a member of the board?”

The election of those three boards are overdue. Other believed minor occurrences are gathering moss. In 2016, President Pinnick will need to punctuate his international and national advancement by looking back at the domestic scene, both on and off the field. He cannot afford to neglect his back. I wish I could say more.

UYO IS WHERE TO BE……

This evening at the impressive banquet hall of the Government House Uyo, the red carpet will be laid out as Governor Udom Emmanuel officially receives the victorious Akwa United team, the History Makers

A month ago, a phone call by the permanent secretary in the Governors office Mr Umoh Bassey ( Ex Rovers of Calabar) saw me receiving an “order” from the secretary to Government Mr Etekamba Umoren, on the need to do everything possible “…….to make sure that Governor Udom Emmanuel lifts that cup in Lagos and brings it back to Uyo”

Today belongs to the players, the technical crew, management and board led by the favoured and pragmatic Akparawa Nse Ubeh who less than eight months on the saddle as Chairman has written the state’s name in the history books of Nigerian football and given Akwa Ibomites cause to rejoice.

Today belongs to the state sports commissioner, Sir Monday Uko, the Permanent secretary in the ministry and the director of sports , the stakeholders, the supporters……..History makers all. Today belongs to Governor Udom Emmanuel who sees this victory as a manifestation of God’s approval and acceptance of the leadership bestowed on the state, and predicts greater glory in the future in all spheres of governance.

Today belongs to Akwa Ibom………Akwa Ibom Adakkada. Ubong enyene Abasi ( Akwa Ibom is on its feet. All glory to God almighty

So much has been written about the nature of the reward that will be handed out to the team and their handlers. Some have suggested cars, others land, while some still will go for cash incentives.

Whatever happens today the Governor will there after order for the punctuation of celebrations in order to “prepare for Africa”. He wants a blue print on his table by the first week of January at the latest. He wants the best players recruited to beef up the team, the technically crew strenghthened and the management fortified. He wants the CAF Confederation cup on his table.

Your Excellency, your wish is our command.

See you next week.


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