By Ime Bassey
With about 72 hours to the elections into CAF Executive Committee in Khartoum, Sudan, former Gombe State Football Association chairman, Alhaji Ahmed Shuaibu Gara Gombe has said that Nigeria’s chances of gaining the coveted seat through Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima looks slim.
Expressing his thoughts to Sunday Vanguard Sports on the country’s chances, Alhaji Gara Gombe said that politics and the divergent interest shown by those at the helm of affairs in the country’s football are reasons for the present low state of hope.
“The entire process has been mismanaged, mishandled and over politicized by all those that are involved. It is a national project in which the President, Vice President and the entire federal executive council should have taken seriously; but when you look at the presidency, both the president and his vice are not sports persons at all.
“When Yar’Adua was around we know he played squash, Obasanjo did the same but for Goodluck and Sambo, we do not know of any. This implies that, we are bound to have a disconnection if we do not have a much focused sports minister that will sit down with them to make them understand the importance of the project.
“Unfortunate for us, Bio would have pushed this project because before his departure, he had set up a committee. The committee would have been driven by the sports commission but nothing was done.
“When Professor Adedoja came in, we expected him to take up the issue as a national project most especially given his rich knowledge of sports as a physical and health Education Professor. He decided to suppress the project instead of moving it forward, furthermore supporting Adamu’s interest above that of Nigeria.
With FIFA’s Appeal Committee still upholding Adamu’s ban, the Minister was shot in the foot. In between when Bio set up the committee and handed over, the foot_dragging of Prof. Adedoja and the Adamu Appeal issue, time was going, and all other candidates were busy with their campaigns.
“Even, Maigari and those in the NFF were not sincere in the first place. If they were, they would be the ones to push the government to take action but they did not. They just used Galadima’s nomination to stabilized the polity and get good relationship with Nigerians.
When Maigari was in South Africa, he even said that he was overwhelmed by the calls and sms he was receiving by well meaning Nigerians congratulating him on his decision to support Galadima.
“Danny Jordan started long ago, if not the crisis in Ghana, the Ghanaian could have gone far. Same also for the candidate from Cote d’Ivoire, he has been working silently with the French speaking countries concerning his candidature.
For Kalusha Bwalya, it is only his internal crisis that has made him move in a slow pace. At this level, we do not need an election to replace Adamu in CAF, the law is very clear. Article 22 sub_section 12 of the CAF’s rules provides that we can send a name to replace him (Adamu).
The article says that, when the tenure of any of its members is halted half way by reason(s) whatsoever, the represented Federation has the right to send a candidate to replace that person.
“So in the case of Galadima, we do not need anything only to just send his name to CAF and not the election that they are disturbing themselves about but all these the NFF has mismanaged.
“They should know that no country in Africa has done what Nigeria has done in CAF today. How many competitions has Cameroon hosted for Africa since joining CAF but Hayatou has been there as president for 25 years and he is treating Nigeria like this.