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For A New NFF – By Sylvester Ikuejamoye

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The embarrassing defeat of Super Eagles by the Pharaohs of Egypt is currently the talk in most gatherings of football faithful. It is not unexpected. Indeed, it should be the norm. Otherwise, something fundamental should be amiss somewhere. The pain inflicted on the psyche of ardent football followers in Nigeria is enormously huge. It is therefore understandable that the tears and weeping from Nigerians and lovers of Nigeria football has been torrential.

However, we should also understand that building mansions on nothing equals to nothing. For about 10 years now, Nigeria football has been on flops, fumbling and wobbling, (apology to whomever), except in 2013 AFCON finals and the qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with unimaginable embarrassing outing for the country. You don’t have to be a prophet to know that those at the helm of affairs of Nigeria football for the last decade are mere football fans and supporters and certainly not football administrators.

The irony of the Nigerian situation which has become the bane of the country’s development is the issue of ‘Godfatherism’ at the expense of national interest and development. Without any form of apology, most of those who are currently running our football have no business at the Secretariat of the NFF. Having failed woefully to qualify Nigeria for the AFCON for the second consecutive time, it is only sensible for those in-charge of this almost irreversible sinking boat of Nigeria football to give way for other competent hands. This is what INTEGRITY and COMMONSENSE is all about. It is nauseating and nonsensical to assume that few months of political appointment either as commissioner for sports or even as director of sports without incontrovertible evidence of result oriented performance, that should confer on anybody, any form of competence or administrative capability to run Nigeria football or any other board at the national level for that matter.

No one should expect any tangible result from a board with permanent scars, cracks, divisions as a result of in-house fighting. A board not in harmony with itself. A board with constant altercations with the technical crew. A board without clear cut blue print for football development. A board whose common interest is individual bread and butter. A board that is not concerned about the exit of three out of four Nigerian clubs from continental assignment. A board that has not been able to appreciate the fact that the state of our local league speaks volume on the early exit of Nigerian teams campaigning at CAF organized competitions. Some prominent members of the immediate past board of NFF who saw nothing good about Samson Siasia and ensure his sacking as the then Eagles’ coach are in the present board that suddenly discovered that Siasia should be drafted in for the failed rescue mission against Pharaohs of Egypt.

I’m completely in agreement with what the Sports Minister Solomon Dalung was quoted as saying-“that if the board should fail to qualify Nigeria for AFCON 2017, then they should give way for those who can do the job”. In any case, it’s not as easy as that, except if the minister is relying on the alleged subsisting court pronouncement on the board. No sane mind is in doubt that our football is in a quagmire that needs urgent surgical operation before it is too late. What is playing out at the glass house should teach us a lesson on the issue of membership of the board of Nigeria football federation and indeed other sports federations. There must be check-list on the track records of those who are interested to be members of any board. It is not enough for state government or minister to hijack elective congresses of sports federations with pre-determined objectives that are clearly inimical to the growth and development of sports in the country.

Government and Nigerians should insist that the emergence of candidates for membership is based on experience and verifiable track records of achievement and competence. Nigeria should avoid running in a circle, motion without movement. I repeat again, there is great virtue in the act of integrity and common sense. In more civilised clime, the current board of the NFF should have resigned enmass for failing for the second time consecutively to qualify for the AFCON competition. Of course, we know that is a rare virtue and honour in this part of the world. We should learn to display the virtues of integrity and commonsense. It is more honourable.

I have said repeatedly in the past that government should ask for the score cards of all the boards to measure the performance of all sporting federations. Some are practically dead while some are in a state of coma. Boards without focus and direction and nothing to show for their tenure should have no business remaining in office. No more, No less.