BY ONOCHIE ANIBEZE
Veteran soccer coach, Godwin Izilien, has been laughing since last Friday.
On that day Jarret Tenebe was asked to read the communique drafted after the meeting new sports minister Yusuf Suleiman held with the Nigeria Football Federation leadership and a group who tried to set up a parallel football administration body, taking the name Nigeria Football Association, NFA.
Tenebe is the leader of the group.
NFA, had in their Makurdi Congress three years ago, changed their name to Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, without recourse to Decree 101 setting up the Nigeria Football Association.
The Tenebe group argued that what the law recognised was NFA and that NFF was an illegal body collecting federal government monetary allocation as NFA and disbursing it as NFF. It was on this basis that they formed another body.
Surprisingly, they started enjoying the support of the sports ministry after they allegedly petitioned the office of Chief Of Staff to the President, Mike Okhiadohme who minuted on the petition and directed it to the sports ministry.
Tenebe was said to be the friend of Okhiadohme and the fears of the Presidency spread to NFF whose leadership was promptly invited to Police Headquarters in Abuja where they were alleged to have been so intimidated that they went to court to obtain an injunction against any arrest.
They were so threatened. Mike Okhiadohme’s name was the magic although it was later said that names were being dropped. This probably influenced the support of the sports ministry for the rebel group. Izilien’s fears are that this influence has been transferred to the new minister.
The minister had met with the two bodies in his attempt to broker peace. After the meeting, Tenebe was asked to read out the communique and Izilien didn’t find that funny.
“I don’t understand what is going on. Is Tenebe not the leader of the rebel group? Are they not the ones forming another body? In the first place, what were they settling? So people can now gather to form parallel bodies of our institutions and the appropriate bodies or government will call them for a meeting to settle.
Settle what? I hope that they have not deceived this sports minister and cajoled him into thinking along their line.
When I read that Tenebe was reading the communique I started laughing. And like (Olusegun) Obasanjo would say ‘I still dey laugh o.’