The National Sports Commission (NSC) has said that it has done more than enough to bring the lingering crisis rocking Nigerian football to an end , even as it noted that its effort in this direction has always been scuttled by officials of the embattled Nigeria Football Association (NFA).
The NSC which backed its claims with volumes of documented evidence made available to the media pointed out that as a Commission charged with overseeing all sporting activities in the country, it did not fold its arm while the Glass House boiled.
“We have on several occasions waded into the football crisis with a view to bringing the warring parties together and resolving the imbroglio,” NSC’s image maker, Tony Ohaeri stated at the weekend.
According to him, “we have severally called all the warring parties together. We have stepped in at various times to get those in court withdraw their cases. We have used different techniques to end the crisis, unfortunately the crisis continued to linger basically because those at the helm of affairs of football have continued to do the wrong things.”
Ohaeri stressed that the NSC started wading into the football crisis way back in early 2010, even before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, when the NFA almost bungled Nigeria’s participation at the Mundial via shoddy pre World Cup arrangements.
On the disputed NFA election, Ohaeri noted that the warring parties were charged to exercise restraint and not allow their selfish interest to over ride that of the nation.
“The DG, Dr Patrick Ekeji, held a meeting with the warring parties on March 24, 2010 at the NICON Luxury hotel, Abuja which Dr Sam Sam Jaja, Barrister Ray Nnaji and the NFA and NPL leadership attended. All the former sports ministers from Bio to Yusuf had at different times held meetings with the NFA leadership where decisions that would have ended the crisis were taken.
The unfortunate thing is that those who are supposed to implement whatever resolutions that were arrived at end up doing the direct opposite. For instance, on October 23, 2010 a reconciliatory parley attended by stakeholders agreed that the NFA board should as a matter of priority address the issue of reform in football administration in Nigeria. That was not done. The NFA equally failed to bring the warring factions of ex-international footballers under one umbrella , talking about NANF and APFON.”
Ohaeri noted that the DG had on the 23rd of May, 2011 waded in and stopped the police from sealing up the Glass House.
“Truth be told, the NSC has done its best to stop the crisis to no avail. It is important to make this clarification for the benefit of the Nigerian public, who are being fed with falsehood by those at the Glass House. There are documents to back the steps we have taken in the last two years or so and the NFA leadership endorsed these documents arising from the intervention meetings.
The NSC has tried all it can to play its role as a supervisory government agency to avoid the unnecessary crisis rocking our football. The NSC has consistently made it clear to those running the game that our football can only grow under a peaceful atmosphere. Unfortunately, those running the game have allowed personal interest to come ahead of national interest and that is why we are where we are today.”