Primate Ayodele, Nigerian football

By Jacob Ajom

The biggest risk to take is to attempt to foretell the future. There are certain things that are seen as humanly impossible. A perfect prediction is one of them. Unless for those who are naturally endowed with the gift by their creator, not many people can foresee what is to come the next minute, day, months or years away. From the prophets of old to date, those who openly prophesy the future come under serious public scrutiny. People seem to look out for failed prophesies than appreciate or acknowledge those that come to pass, when they do happen, as predicted.

In August this year, Primate Elijah Babatunde Ayodele of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Oke Afa released his book titled Warning to the Nations, containing predictions for 2019/2020 and beyond. In the book, he addressed a wide range of issues including local and international politics, sports and all. Although his predictions have a bias for Nigeria, the book has a global outlook.

His predictions on sports are quite interesting. Zeroing in on the Nigeria Football Federation, the Primate wrote extensively on the state of national football teams, the fate of the coaches and on the leadership of the NFF. On Page 143, Primate Ayodele writes, inter alia, “I foresee that the Nigerian Football Federation will be troubled. There will be charges of corrupt practices against the federation while the President will face a lot of challenges. I foresee him facing serious litigation…He will have problems with CAF and he needs to be careful so that he will not be pushed out of his seat…”

Between then and now a lot has happened and most, if not all, point to a fulfillment of his predictions.

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The NFF is just getting out of its worst spell of instability, litigations and probes. The period has also witnessed the unprecedented freefall of Nigerian football. The home-based Eagles could not get past the group stages of WAFU Cup of Nations, Togo stopped them from qualifying for African Nations Championship, CHAN, the U23 Olympic team failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, Super Falcons also failed to qualify for the Olympics, etc.

He also foresaw the crisis rocking the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN, warning on Page 141, “I foresee that the activities of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria will be politicised. Let them pray against forces that will constantly factionalise the association.”

Today, SWAN at the national level and in some states is factionalised. Two ‘national’ congresses produced two national presidents. There is a stalemate.

On Tuesday, December 24, Primate Ayodele called journalists to the church for a review of the predictions. As usual, he was adamant and insisted that he stood by his predictions. “I owe nobody any apology as I stand by my predictions. I blame journalists who do not follow up our predictions. If you draw the people’s attention to these predictions, when they occur there won’t be any doubts about them,” he said.

He said although a lot of his prophesies have come to pass, people were not adequately informed about them. “The problems in Zimbabwe, the general hardship in Nigeria, the removal of the FIRS chairman, President Trump’s impeachment, etc.”

Asked what could be done to arrest the decline in Nigerian football, Primate Ayodele said, “the decline will continue until there is a new leadership.”



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