By Paul Bassey

When the general assembly met to ratify the impeachment of Lulu and co, it declined the ratification of the extension of the December date for elections into the NFF board.

The general assembly was in a hurry to get the present board out of office and recommended that elections should go on in August as planned. There was however a little respite for those Lulu had shut out of the presidential race. They had a two weeks grace to collect, fill and return their forms.

That opportunity, I have been told opened a flood gates of potential NFF Presidents. The more the merrier you are wont to say.  So many names have been communicated to me, some serious, some not so serious, some  bordering on the ridiculous.

There is even a name from the South South that no one can place, not to talk about linking it to football. Some say the man has an amateur football club somewhere in Edo state and is backed by a top football name in the country with international connections.

This is the time to put your ear to the ground and try to sift reality from myth. That over three ex footballers are in contention, that two sports commissioners have thrown in their hats, two former secretary generals of the NFA and three members of the present NFF board.
As the mad rush for acquisition and submission of forms continue, candidates have not stopped to weigh the political meaning of their interest. For instance, all those who want to be President and are  from the South South, have they considered the fact that since Davidson Owumi, by virtue of his chairmanship of the NPL is already second vice chairman of the NFF, that by implication knocks out all candidates from his zone who want to be President?

Have they studied the rules and regulations governing the electoral code and the eligibility of candidates? Has the General Assembly sufficiently accepted the review of the ‘Lulu statutes’ that emasculated all genuine football people?

Because the ‘Lulu Electoral Committee’ is still in place, a lot of candidates have also expressed fears about the outcome of the election although many are set to swear on the chairman, as a credible lawyer of repute.

Last week end, the electoral committee went ahead to release a schedule for the elections and I thought I saw something like a ‘presidential debate’. Please how can we get to handle a truly telling presidential debate? How can we make them to speak ex tempore instead of all that speech reading that comes to naught?

Last year we were all witnesses to the sham called presidential debate. We saw how messrs  Odegbami and Lumumba floored Sani Lulu yet it was Lulu that was declared the winner. Can we set up a panel that will drill those cleared, on the administration of the game, knowledge of the sport and the exposition of their stated plans for the development of the game?

If you can get a hold on the paper that Lulu read four years ago, you will discover that none of the promises made had been fulfilled. None.

I do not want to go back to what happened four years ago, how the so called stake holders held nocturnal meetings, schemed and plotted and at the end of the day, invited Sani Lulu to come and be President, yet he spent his four year tenure saying he was anointed by God, whose mandate no one could take from him.

I am happy that the present chairman of the electoral committee was part of the struggle four years ago and at the threshold of history, he is condemned to deliver a credible election that will enthrone the best man for the job.

This time around no one should be allowed to front for no one. Every one should be able to answer his or her father’s name. The biggest consolation I have is that with what we are witnessing presently, I want to believe and sincerely too that those who are likely to come in will not, repeat, not be un aware of the follies of their predecessors.

I want to believe that those coming in will do well to take others along. I want to believe that those coming in will know that just as FIFA embraced Lulu after Galadima had been thrown out, that is how they turned around to embrace Aminu Maigari and even gave him and his team tickets for the final match.

Those coming in will get well to know that they are answerable to the people and that monies, tax payers monies released to them have to be accounted for, whether they come from FIFA or from the federal government.

Those coming in are already gearing up for the battle ahead and they have started rehearsing for the debate that this time around will impact on the votes to be cast.

Share with me, some of the rehearsals that are going on all over the country.

Candidate A

I am releasing myself for service quite conscious of the fact that our football is on the floor and needs a dose of fresh air. Before you say I supervised a failed club, I want to say that that is exactly why I have come out. I have learnt a lot from the relegation of my club and that will put me in good stead to run affairs at the national level. Besides, at state level, there is no money, but imagine me handling 900 million naira. Haba. I swear with that type of money I will win the world cup in Brazil in 2014 with the Super Eagles.

Candidate  B

I do not have much to say, I have served my country on the pitch as a great footballer, this is the time to serve them off the pitch. I am very popular all over the world, I played all over Europe,if I talk, Blatter and FIFA will listen. The players will listen to me. What can they tell me? All over the world players are taking over this is my turn.

Candidate C

If there is any Nigerian who is hungry for this post, it is me. For the past eight years or more I have not been tired canvassing to become NFF President. It is that hunger and passion that will guarantee my success. I am sufficiently educated, well exposed and well armed to lead football in this country. I played the game up to international level, I administered it at club level and got a stint at national level but was not sufficiently empowered to give my all. This should be my time.

Candidate D

But for me Lulu and co would still be in power. Let those who are anxious for this thing just relax and wait their turn. For the past four years I have been an insider and better placed to chart the way forward. I should, in the name of continuity be allowed to provide the leadership that has been absent in the last four years.

Candidate  E

Wahali, I am the best man for the job. I count myself over qualified. No Nigerian living today can claim the experience I have had in the football house. When I left, I went into government and veered into private life and I come back fully charged for the task at hand. I should be likened to Blatter, and if Blatter has succeeded, then I will succeed.

Okay ooo, we are listening, quite conscious that we will not allow the mistakes of the past to overwhelm us again. No never.

See you next week

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