Sportograph MASKHEAD


Rather than slicing the cake for all to share, football administrators situated in the glass house and indeed the Nigeria football federation board are crushing the cake. Self-serving actions and decisions are making Nigeria’s football lie prostrate.

A series of coups executed by football administrators for self-perpetuation and sustenance of a fiefdom constantly throw up strife at the football house especially in any year of federation election.NFF LOGO

The sports media which ought to police and moderate self-serving football administrators have become willing tools in the hands of cretinous group.

The recent crisis or logjam is the handwork of paid agents at work and they lampoon those seeking correctness in the polity in the face of monstrous waste of resources, greed, underhand tactics, barefaced corruption, political interference by influence peddlers afflict the football federation with so much vulgarity.

The seeds of these ebbing times of our football were hatched at the NFF Makurdi congress in 2006. That congress facilitated with government funds and driven by government machinery has imperiled our football and kept it in the quicksand it is today. “Stakeholders” were rented to raise spurious allegations against the duly elected NFA board led by the very experienced Kano sports administrator Alhaji Ibrahim galadima. Urs linsey the colourless and very plyable FIFA secretary general at the time relocated his office to Makurdi to help drive sanity out of Nigeria’s football.

A section of the Nigeria sports media, culpable as always in very many evil machinations against positivity in sports development, management and administration denied Nigerians the truth about the real state of affairs of their number one passion. Like village criers many of them beat their gongs and bellowed all kinds of accusations against Galadima and his board.

Media agents began to purposely mislead all with blue truths and red truths. Galadima ‘s famously misinterpreted comment about a world cup berth not being our birth right made the rounds in media reportage post Nigeria’s world cup exit . The stage was then set for the coup de grace against Galadima and his board. With the inordinate ambition of a cabal perfected, Sani Lulu and his coterie of football “administrators” were installed, signaling a descent into extravagance in the use of public funds and deceit in the true state of affairs. The new “administrators”, shapeshifters, and manipulators, then began the creation of a fiefdom with almighty and questionable NFF statutes.

The statutes, an exclusive unprogressive misrepresentation of football governing rules in Nigeria, often referenced by FIFA is threatening to snuff out life from our football.

Sani Lulu and his board wined, dined and traveled endlessly in large numbers until their world cup 2010 extravagance pitched them against their own kith and kin. In a swift coup d’etat, one of Lulu’s lieutenants, Aminu Maigari, then chairman of NFF finance commitee emerged as president. Sani Lulu and a few of his right hand men were bundled out and are facing charges of financial recklessness in court. A matter of which appears to take forever to dispose of.

Aminu Maigari may be nice person but ‘nice’ is not good enough for the scale of issues and problems bothering Nigeria’s football. The dour-looking administrator needed skill and competence much of which showed in his appetite for estacode-driven travels. But if there was ever an administrator with a massive dose of luck in his time with it is Maigari.

I will not take anything away from him because a lot happened in his tenure, victories in competitions involving national teams, AFCON 2013 victory after a barren 19 years period of and world cup qualification certainly count for something. But at what costs?

Obviously, not everyone enjoyed the Maigari’s style of governance. Questions of reckless and imprudent spending , decisions and actions which bother on impunity attracted the ire of the new carpet baggers and Maigari has had to go via another coup d’ tat.

Contending parties up in arms against themselves relied on their interpretation of the governing rules, FIFA statutes and court orders to get into what has become a show of shame. The sports minister, a supposed umpire of this needless fight for the soul of Nigeria’s football apparently descended into the arena and handled the matter inelegantly, thus questioning his motive(s). As usual the feverish drumbeat of FIFA ban was up in the air causing needless panic in the polity. But I knew FIFA was not going to impose any ban on Nigeria because it by now knows it is itself guilty of complicity in the Nigerian situation since 2006.

Secretary to the government of the federation , Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, my respected classmate at the law school, for reasons best known to him elected to call a truce in a matter over which a court order had neither been vacated nor set aside by a superior court, such action at best confused the equation because the same people who swear by the provisions of NFF statutes reap dividends of government interference as in this instant case of national association of Nigerian footballers v NFF in which justice Abang of the federal high court had made specific restraining orders.

The final act of this ugly drama unfolding in Nigeria’s football is the interminable shift in the date of NFF congress at which government funds will be spent to host.

But the goons at FIFA will not see that as government interference because even with the very obvious annual FG budgetary allocations with which football is administered in Nigeria, FIFA on the wrong perception of local presentation of football insists on dictating the tune even when it is so obvious that the federal government of Nigeria pays the piper.

Inarticulate, questionable premises which gives rise to avoidable confusion and opprobrium is what we now have in our football. God help us so sanity can prevail once again. Amen!


– Barrister Godwin Dudu-Orumen made this contribution before the recent election which brought the new NFF board led by newly elected president, Amaju Pinnick.