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Who are these court jesters, for God’s sake!

By PAUL BASSEY
Incidentally, the expression “court jester” has no relationship with a court of law. Rather it is a term used in the Middle Ages to describe a professional CLOWN (capitals mine ) employed to entertain kings and queens and noble men…..

Today, I find no term apt enough to describe a group of men who are hell bent to have their way to the detriment of the collective good of this country.

There are millions of Nigerians out there who will insist that this is not a laughing matter, given the seriousness of their actions, despite their laughable actions.

When on September 9,World Football Governing body FIFA dispatched what could be termed a FINAL warning to Nigeria, they wrote: “…we would also inform you that should the electoral process be affected by any interference or mishap, the case will be referred again, and without prior notice or warning to the appropriate FIFA bodies for immediate suspension of the NFF until the next FIFA congress…………” how delighted we were to witness some fresh breadth return to the football house after it had been fouled again and again by individuals oblivious of the statutes governing football administration world wide.

As you are reading this, no one has come forward with the agenda, list of attendance, motions moved and names of individuals that allegedly voted Mr Giwa into office that is why I am always sickened when a section of the media confer on him the sacred appellation of “president”

To cut a long story short, at FIFA’s instruction he duly vacated office, the NFF executive Committee under Maigari met, fixed an extraordinary meeting of the congress for September 20 in Warri, and off we went, determined to restore sanity to our embattled football house.

I must confess that I was expecting a stormy session, a couple of absentees and protests……yet I arrived Warri to meet “real” members of the Nigerian football family, a congress that was 44 members strong, chairmen and delegates that back slapped, laughed heartily and exchanged banters as if nothing had gone amiss.

Surprisingly, Friday night, rumours filtered in that certain individuals had gone to a Jos court ( Jos Again?) to obtain an injunction stopping the congress from holding. Unbelievable!

In Warri we had the who’s who in Nigeria’s football, stake holders all. Who , for God’s sake were these court jesters? I exclaimed.

The football family met and considered it for the rumour that it was, after all no one had been served any court notice. The Congress day was a Saturday, and no one expected the court to work on a week end. Even the electronic delivery of the so called court order was done by counsel of the plaintiff and not an authorized court bailiff, I was briefed.

Congress venue, the entrance of NFF President Aminu Maigari was loudly applauded, the speech of the honourable Minister delivered by Dr Bolaji Ojo Oba calling for “…..everything possible be done to protect the sanctity of football as it will be criminal for anybody to tamper with it ………” was given a standing ovation while that of the DG National Sports Commission delivered by Mallam Alhasan Yakmut was received with resounding acclaim.

Then came an unbelievably well organized, orderly and meticulously delivered Congress where all the delegates spoke with one voice, Elected members of the Electoral and Electoral Appeal Committee, agreed on date and venue of the Elective Congress, promised to move forward from now on and pledged their service to the country’s football development.

This is for those who believe “FIFA should ban us”. Those who have failed to realize that should FIFA ban us, anytime we want to come back, we will always return to status quo in terms of congresses to set a road map and hold elections.

Those who say FIFA should ban us for us to reorganize our football have failed to mention those and how football will be reorganized in a vacuum.

Those who say FIFA should ban us do not know that if they do, CAF will pull us out of the Nations Cup Qualifiers, bar the Falcons from Namibia, stop the progress of the Golden Eaglets and the Flying Eagles from their qualifying matches and ground our referees and match commissioners, cancel our developmental seminars and courses for organization, referees and sports medicine…..

Those who say FIFA should ban us, dogs in a manger, selfishness personified ready to plunge this country to a pariah status for their own selfish ends “if we cannot get what we want, then let FIFA ban us”……court jesters.

Between now and September 30 when the election will hold, they are advised to keep clear of our football. On behalf of the youths of this country we warn them to desist from doing anything that will impact negatively on the football fortunes of this country, because not only will history be harsh on them, it will haunt them for life. A stigma they will not appreciate.

These are the same people we advised to desist from taking football matters to regular courts as it HAS NEVER WORKED .The same people that saw reason and went to the Court of Arbitration For Sports (CAS) only to have their case thrown out for lack of merit.

In Warri, Nigeria’s supreme soccer ruling organ, the Congress spoke. In ten days time we are expected to return to Warri to elect our next set of leaders and I rest convinced that in the same peaceful manner with which the extraordinary congress was delivered, so shall the Elective congress be concluded, with football as the overall winner. AMEN.

THOSE NATIONAL HONOURS

Last Friday, the Federal Government release a list of those approved for National honours among them 39 sportsmen and women including the Golden Eaglets and their coaches.

It is curious and sad that whereas some staff of the NFF, who are backroom staff of the team will be national honours recipients yet Alhaji Aminu Maigari, chairman of the NFF and his board have been neglected in this consideration.

I can tell the story of the Golden Eaglets, how, from scratch, this team was nurtured to stardom by the NFF and today that same NFF has been shoved aside.

Am I surprised? When Nigeria won the Nations Cup in South Africa I arrived Aso Rock to discover that no seat had been reserved for the NFF board, no wonder then that when members of the team were honoured by various honours and cash prizes Alhaji Maigari and his board were denied their due. Maigari stands tall as one of the most successful, if not the most successful football federation President ever.

After winning the Nations Cup, the World U17 Cup, playing to the final of the World U20 Women World Cup twice…..with other continental diadems over a short period of four years,he watches in amazement as all his teams are honoured but not him!

For how long will this injustice continue? Not for long. I believe that sooner than later, the Maigari executive, its management and committees will be appreciated and rewarded.

The Good Book tells me that no matter how hard detractors try, what belongs to you, though it linger, wait for it, it will surely come. Habakkuk 2:3

See you next week…


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