Date Published: 07/06/10
NFF: Lulu as sacrificial lamb By Christopher Adokeme
The latest news coming out of the Glass House, or is it Transcorp House, is that the members of the Executive Committee of the NFF finally woke up from their self induced slumber and sent their leadership packing without any ceremony or fanfare.
Thus with about two months to the end of their tenure, the three musketeers who have already invested so much in their re-election bid, suddenly found themselves out in the cold. I am sure that they will still be reeling with disbelieve by the time this piece is out. This is because for them their re-election was already "a done deal" going by the extensive manipulation that they had subjected the process to. Certainly, another indication that power ultimately belongs to God and He gives it to whom He pleases.
The ease with which they were coasting home to victory was indicative of how successfully they had dismantled all opposition, both real and imagined, within and outside the Glass House.
Princess Bola Jegede, long standing member of Nigeria's football ruling body ( I almost forgot she was still there ) in making the announcement of the decision, added that both Alhaji Aminu Maigari and Chief Obinna Ogba were elected chairman and 1st vice chairman respectively.
In a move which will make movie producers green with envy, Jegede, like a scene from a comedy script, told an amused audience that the members meant to take the action since February this year, but had a rethink as a result of the then impending World Cup fixtures.
Of course, as is usual with every self-centred act of survival, she conveniently forgot that after Nigeria crashed out of the competition in a disgraceful fashion, the NFF as a body met, on Tuesday last week, and nothing remotely sounding like an impeachment was mooted.
Instead, the hottest news from the meeting was that Lagerback ( who in other climes would have honourably thrown in the towel ) had been given permission to jet out on a two week holiday, most probably at our expense.
In addition, the man who was given a target to take us to the semi final, but did not even scale through the first hurdle, was again given the mandate to raise a formidable "Super Eagles." Finally, even with the existence of an international competition for indigeneous players plying their trade in Africa, the wise men and woman at the Glass House decided to abolish the concept of home grown and foreign Eagles and collapsed them into one. And you begin to wonder if they expected to be taken seriously or were just grandstanding.
There was not even the slightest hint that the members were uncomfortable with the South African debacle.
Of course, one must make exception for the likes of Dr Peter Singabele, the University of Ibadan trained medical doctor of 30years standing, who has been consistent in his advocacy of robust reforms at the Glass House.
You can imagine my consternation therefore when Jegede, an otherwise respected name in Nigerian football in view of her record of service to the game, came up with that disgusting afterthought, which in itself would have been laughable were it not for the evil attempt to take Nigerians for a ride.
Herein lies the crux of the matter.
The barefaced attempt by the members to lynch Lulu and his other colleagues on the Executive Committee, when there is no indication that they disagreed or disapproved of his antics, is at best dishonourable. And that unfortunately is part of the problem confronting Nigerian football. The flight of intergrity.
But for the presence of one or two particular members at the meeting, it will have been easy to dismiss the alibi of Jegede as the gerrymandering of power mongers.
When will men of honour return to administer the game in the country.
By their ignominous action of ostracising the Kogi born administrator, the members are trying to wash their hands off the disaster that was the Lulu era. Much like Pontius Pilate in the New Testament.
Yet, abundant evidence abound that they were part of the locust years of Nigerian football. For nearly two years, Singabele, unable to stomach the shenanigans which had become second nature at the Glass House, shouted himself hoarse in his futile attempt to enthrone a culture of accountabity at the headquarters of Association football in Nigeria. What was the reaction of those now shouting crucify him against Lulu. They not only kept mute, they proceeded to set up a worse than kangaroo in-house panel against him.
Without regards to the statutes setting up the NFF, they claimed to have suspended him. And untill that blantantly illegal suspension was lifted, they neve bothered to test the acceptability or otherwise of their action by taking the matter to the Congress for ratification.
Of course, the Congress being the rubber of Lulu's stamp, went on as though such a flagrant violence on the laws governing football in the country was no issue.
This brings us to the issue of due process. In sacrificing their chairman, did the members observe their own laws. NFF Executive Committee meetings are supposed to be summoned by the secretary general on the instruction of the chairman. Was this done? If yes, why was he not at the meeting? Did he delegate anyone to represent him? If the answer to this is in the negative, then can we say that that meeting at the Transcorp hotel was a legitimate meeting of the NFF? If the answer to this is again negative, then the Transcorp meeting can be dismissed as an elaborate outlay of petty conspiracies.
No doubt, Lulu ran our football aground with his bizarre style of administration anchored solely on Adamucracy ( that is absolute loyalty to Adamu). With Adamu as an active cheer leader, Lulu allowed the ship of Nigerian football to drift aimlessly without a care in the world. All that mattered was his re-election.
Surely, he had to be tamed as he was arguably headed towards a montrous dictatorship, with Uchegbulam and Ogunjobi providing intimidating firepower from within.
Or how else does one explain a situation in which the NFF will tamper directly with the electoral process for the Nigerian Premier League by suspending Sharks FC for the redeployment of the civil service GM of the club by his employers, the Rivers state government. The Lulu led NFF blantantly ignored the existence of the Electoral Committee already set up by the NPL Congress, as well as the Appeal Committee. Rather, they manufactured a programmed arbitration panel, which has no place in the electoral guidelines of the NPL election.
But for the welcome action of the Federal government, the development at the Glass House was going beyond endurance.
As for FIFA, the less said about them the better, because they have since the Ibrahim Galadima years shown that they are part of the problems of Nigerian football. Enough is too much.
Chris Adokeme is the immediate past chairman of the Bayelsa State Football Association.