By Paul Bassey
As the Dr Amos Adamu saga raged last year, all attempts to keep mum were rebuffed.Precisely on October 25 2010, in a piece entitled “ Not the best of times…not “ I wrote what I considered to be a personal opinion.
“All efforts to keep myself out of today’s column have proved abortive. Colleagues who thought they could call me up to get scoops have so far been disappointed. On Friday morning one of them called and after talking to me for twenty minutes concluded that I was sitting on the fence.
He said “ Oga, its unlike you, I still don’t have a story. You are sitting on the fence” I said he sounded like an undercover agent, and that I was not going to be forced to say what I did not mean.”
I now find myself in the same position I was three months ago as shades of opinions fly forth over Nigeria’s quest to retain Dr. Adamu’s CAF and FIFA positions.
I wrote then :
“….That even that morning, the foreign media in their headlines said “Nigerian suspended…..” that we should punctuate our celebrations, that should Adamu leave FIFA and CAF tomorrow, it was not automatic that Another Nigerian will replace him.
“That it does not work that way, that it could take us thirty years if not more to replace him.
“….What am I trying to say? That the moment you become, by the grace of God, a member of the FIFA and CAF family, you remain a member, until you are considered not fit. In CAF and FIFA, your nationality is acknowledged, yet you are considered a citizen of the world, a global servant of the round leather game.
“In CAF and FIFA your country cannot write a letter and say “withdraw this man”. No, there are rules and regulations, procedures guiding such actions and so on.”
I wrote further that I belonged to
“a group that is looking beyond Dr. Adamu, a group that ponders the future of Nigeria after the FIFA storm.”
My position has not changed.. “. Yes, the Ethics Committee has come out suspending Dr. Adamu and five others.
Yes the FIFA President Joseph Blatter has been quoted to have used strong words, words that imply culpability, ( “It’s a sad day for football because it’s a sad day in life …..our society is full of devils and these devils, you find them in football” ) yet we cannot run away from the fact that Dr. Amos Adamu has appealed.
“ After the suspension, Dr. Adamu broke his silence, coming out to plead his innocence…. “Whilst I wholly refute all allegations made, I fully support the inquiry since it is important that these claims are thoroughly investigated,” Adamu said.
“Only by doing this will FIFA – and the wider football community – be able to trust that its appointed representatives are beyond reproach”
“I have not presented my position to those investigating this matter .However, I am confident that my actions, the full and true extent of which were not detailed in the story published, will demonstrate not only my innocence and integrity, but also my commitment to football and to FIFA.”
Here, it is instructive that while all other members suspended with him have decided to accept their fate, ( Some have even handed over ) He still insists he is innocent.
However, while waiting for the appeal, CAF will in February, 23rd to be precise, hold elections to fill positions that will be vacant on the Executive Committee.
I believe It is based on this information and the subsequent upholding of the FIFA sanction ( Dr, Adamu’s name is not on the list of the official CAF delegation to Rwanda and Sudan ) that made Nigeria put forward the name of Ibrahim Galadima as likely successor to Dr, Adamu in both FIFA and CAF.
Unfortunately for us, the events of the last one week, portray some very serious confusion and seeming misunderstanding of the whole scenario. Even the sports minister is reported to have said that NOTHING should be done until Dr Adamu’s appeal is heard. Yes, but WHEN WILL DR ADAMU’S APPEAL BE HEARD?
That is the question that the NSC and the NFA REFUSED to answer leading to a ground swell of confusion and accusations. Now that February 3 has been published as possible date of the appeal, methinks it was very unfortunate that Ibrahim Galadima was kept incommunicado.
I want to believe that the Alhaji Galadima project was a Nigeria Project. As much as we pray for Dr. Adamu to scale his appeal, there was also the plan B, the “ in case” situation.
I want to believe that Dr. Adamu will not want to be the dog in the manger who will stop the horse from coming in for dinner when he knows he does not eat grass. To have left the Alhaji Galadima nomination till feb 3 would have been too late. That is why Nigeria should have activated the committte it set up for the purpose and worked under ground pending whatever scenario will present itself.
As you are reading this, the General Oneya committee has not been inaugurated, no funds allocated, nothing. Who even says Dr Adamu will not need support if he is to return?
The race for the FIFA seat is so fierce that it will take astute football politics to get a seat as Dr. Danny Jordan, Suketu Patel, Kalusha Bwalya, Nyantakyi Kwesi, Mohammed Raouaroua and Jacques Anouma jump into the fray.
The most interesting is the CAF executive seat where Article 22 of the Statutes say that “ should there be a vacancy on the CAF Executive Committee during the first half of the term of office, the Executive Committee shall elect a replacement for the remainder of the term” This is a classic Dr. Amos Adamu case, yet Nigeria has not manifested its interest since the statutes DOES NOT SAY that a member so Elected by the Executive Committee as a replacement shall be a Nigerian.
I did write in October that “heads or tail Nigeria may be the loser” There is no doubting the fact that for someone who has risen to both the boards of FIFA and CAF such a person remains a force in world football. The situation is therefore not confrontational, but patriotic, advantage Nigeria.
A vote for Aisha Falode
last week I wrote on the need to elect a woman to run the women’s league in Nigeria. Today I have been told and I am happy that of the 13 women who have signified interest in the position over 9 are women and I rest very pleased.
I have also been told that Aisha Falode, Channel Manager, head of sports in AIT and CAF media committee member is one of the contestants for this week end’s election.
My vote goes to Aisha.
This amazon of our sports popularly called and addressed as “ Mama Sports” can best be remembered as a pioneer and only female member of the 2005 Interim Management Committee of the Nigeria Professional League who helped to institute a foundation, structure and autonomy that is still the backbone of our league today.
As chairman of the media committee of the league, Auisha it was who initiated and implemented the drawing of full fixtures for the league different from the piece meal tradition.
Thanks to Aisha Who will forget the live two hour transmission of the draws of the league at the Yar ‘Adua Centre in Abuja that had in attendance all the stake holders of the game?
She gave identity to the league through the call for logo desi