LIKE a bolt out from the blues, Nigerians in FIFA, and CAF committees yesterday vowed to be more involved and show interests in anything that could make Nigerian football more healthy.
They would pull strings to discouraged the frequent visits to FIFA by Government functionaries. They also frowned at the incessant and unsubstantiated condemnations of the Nigerian football federation by all and sundry; an act they claimed has soiled the country’s image abroad, affected the development of the game through suffocation of marketing and sponsorship drives.
Senate President, David Mark last week described the football federation as the most corrupt government agency in the country during the consideration of a motion on the dwindling fortunes of sport in the country sponsored by Senator Adamu Gumba and 15 others in which it was revealed that the NFF embezzled over N2.16 billion proceeds given to Nigeria by FIFA.
But rising from their inaugural meeting at Westown Hotel, Ikeja, the Nigerians in FIFA and CAF after intensive deliberations on the state of Nigerian football issued a communiqué signed by 10 of them. The signatories include; former Chairman of NFA, General Dominic Obukadata Oneya, former Vice President of NFF, Mazi Amanze Uchegbulam, former Scribe Sani Ahmed Toro, former Scribe, Dr Tijani Yusuf, Austin Akosa, Aisha Falode, Chief Adegboye Onigbinde, Linus Mba, Paul Bassey and Mike Itemuagbor.
Part of their Communique reads; that with due respect to the fundamental human rights of Nigerians, football is run by statutes as approved by national federations/Associations, CAF and FIFA and this is sacrosanct.
That having voluntarily agreed to affiliate to FIFA, we are bound to respect and abide by the rules and regulations of FIFA citing articles 10, 13, 17, 62 and 64, hence the need to commence a process of reconciling members of the football family will lead to the withdrawal from ordinary courts.
As a matter of urgency, there is need to conclude the process of repealing Decree 101 to conform with the statutes of CAF and FIFA, thereby recognizing the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, as the sole body responsible for football administration and development in this country.
A committee be set up to help educate and enlighten the nation through the presentation of a document aimed at facilitating (4) above.
We are not too comfortable with the incessant and unsubstantiated condemnations of the Nigerian football federation by all and sundry, an act that has helped to soil the country’s image abroad, punctuated the development of the game through the suffocation of marketing and sponsorship drive.
There is need to discourage the frequent visits to FIFA by government functionaries to “resolve” issues that can always be solved by internal football resolution process.
Henceforth, this body will be muscularly involved and interested in the health of football in this our dear country and will also serve in an advisory capacity towards the professional administration and development of football.
The above was unanimously considered as a vote of support and belief in Nigerian football. Asked why it took them long before coming out to talk on the state of football in the country, Mike Itemuagbor said it was like a marriage between husband and wife. “It takes them time before they invite in-laws or outsiders to intercede on their problems. They try to salvage things before inviting others. All the same, it is better late than never”, he said.
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