Letter To Mr President On Nigerian Football

Mr President Sir, permit me to communicate to you as one who is much more in touch with Football Issues, Nigerian Football and daily realities more than your High Status as the President of the Federal Republic would let you. Sir, I was rather aghast when you decided to withdraw Nigerian Football Teams from all Football Competitions for 2 years based on the dismal performance of the Super Eagles in the South Africa 2010 World Cup. Mr President, even as distanced as I was to you on that faithful day in June whilst you were receiving the Presidential Task Force's recommended Report on Nigerian Football; I could clearly tell that you did not brood on the Report or have an external team of advisors who were neutral looked into it before your Special Adviser on Media matters, Ima Niboro went on to announce that decision. That way, you might have saved yourself the unnecessary hassles of withdrawing your decision rather than Nigerian Football from FIFA Completions. Also You would not have looked like a Person who is ‘uncertain' of what to do about the whole issue in the eyes of the World. A President's decision should have been subjected to series rigorous vetting before announcement to the public. That decision, I think did not go through any further art of wider reasoning at all. I just saw you ‘mouth out' that you trusted the submitted recommendation by the PTF and ‘wham' the Media was awashed with the withdrawal news.

You see Sir, while majority of the Nation knew that the Super Eagles debacle in South Africa was partly a manifestation of a thieving administration of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), they also knew that the Super Eagles is not the entirety of Nigerian Football. Simply put, if Nigerian Football were an Atom, the Super Eagles would be the nucleus. One is a component of the other. In Nigeria, I understand the whole of Our Football in this hierarchy (a) Super Eagles (b) National Under 23 Team called Dream Team (c) The National Under 20 Team called the Flying Eagles. (d) The National Under 17 Team called the Golden Eaglets. (e) The Female National Team called the Falcons (f) their Under 20 Team called the Falconets and (f) the Under 17 Female Team. Not to mention close to 5 Clubs playing the African Club Competitions yearly. So when in anger the decision was announced, I particularly, felt it was just a case of ‘cutting off the nose to spite the face' because each of these teams operate independently of each other. If the Super Eagles as the nucleus of Nigerian football then falters, it alone should be treated and cured with the withdrawal decision; not every facet of Nigerian Football. Well except if we all agree that the Nigerian Football required critical resuscitation rather than surgery.

Sir, using statistics and history for company, I can assure you Nigerian football is not as poor as to require 2 years in the doldrums and I am glad you rescinded the decision. Even the decision on the Super Eagles alone is uncalled for talk less of the whole entity. For if you take into cognizance that since Your Party the PDP came into power in 1999 till date. You will see Sir that the Super Eagles only failed to make a Major Tournament in 2006. That means of the cumulated 3 World Cups and the 6 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) Competitions in 10 years, the Super Eagles participated in 8, winning a Silver Medal in 2000 and Bronze in 2002,2004,2006 and 2010 in the AFCON; even though the World Cup experience were dismal. Sir things can be better with the Super Eagles and Nigerian Football but it could have been worst had you not rescinded that decision. Just today, one of the Nigerian Teams that could have fallen victim to Nigeria's two years off Football, The Under 20 Falconets qualified for the Semi-Final stage of the Under 20 Women's World Cup in Germany after defeating the defending Champions, USA. Sir, they could have begun the catalogue of Talents and Teams that would have been eclipsed if you had stood your grounds on the withdrawal decision. You see Sir; the problem with Nigerian Football is not different from what is wrong with the whole Country, I hope You have realised that?. The Super Eagles only served as the showcase of a very un-democratized corrupt entity called the NFF. I know the Super Eagles display in South Africa embarrassed Your Government because the eyes of the World were on them. Well we Your fellow citizens also feel frustrated and embarrassed with almost everything that the Government control. The NFF in ‘Our eyes' is not unlike any Federal Parastatal that is ‘crawling with blood suckling' vampires who sap the National Resources in the line of National duties. Every National Assignment is seen as an opportunity to enrich members. Circumvention of due process, quality and integrity is the order of the day and it is everywhere in our National lives.

Sir, maybe you thought the selection of the Super Eagles team for the World could have had those players who merited being there in the first place. In your innermost of mind, You could have sworn that there are loads of talents either Locally or Internationally who could have done better than the crop that represented Nigeria in South Africa. Trust me millions of your fellow citizens also feel those whom you gave National Honours to a few days ago on TV could have been bettered with hardworking industrious people from the grassroots and in disapora who inspite of the countless hardships they face daily still do something for this Country. We feel the system and forces that probably operated in the selection of the Super Eagles Players in early June also played out in the naming of these men and women. Sir, if I may remind you that the World Cup in South Africa was barely into its knockout stages when You moved with a super lightning speed to ban Nigeria. I would have expected You hauling people into jail for looting the NFF coffers in the same breath. FIFA are aware that the Nigerian Officials have sticky fingers. They won't do anything if EFCC finds them culpable and subsequently jail them even whilst still sitting in office too. Sir, members of the NFF removed just two of its senior staffs within the 48 hrs deadline givin by FIFA; and you seemed pacified enough to rescind your decision whilst a whole generation of Nigerian talents could have been doomed for life if otherwise. Mr President, I have a feeling that even if you did not rescind that decision, things would have been relatively as quiet as they were right now in terms of our Football. This is because I have not seen a blueprint on how to re-build Nigerian Football as postulated by the PTF committee; of which you took that decision by in any pages of the Newspaper. Yet the budding talents of these Falconets and more could have fallen victim to a Potential bad decision. I also view the whole episode in the light of the National Assembly and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Sir, both have brought more shame to Nigeria of late in the process of ‘Our current democracy' than every component of our football put together. Yet, we are made to swallow the ignominy daily without sincere approach to get them on the right track. Mr President, You must have noticed that I used ‘INEC and sincere approach' as an example while you would have expected me to mention Your appointment of the person of Attahiru Jega as the new head of INEC. Sir I must comment that the action of yours is unprecedented but You see, the Constitution that was recently amended by the National Assembly still ties Jega's hand to deliver all the goodies You promised.Sir, I will stop here as the Power Supply in the Estate where I reside presently, have just gone off and the battery of my laptop will not be able to last me enough to itemize the similitude of the Failures of our Nationhood with Our Football . How I wish the PHCN were the ones who are being banned and unbanned to show the seriousness of Your Government at tackling the Power Crises.

This is my Letter to you Your Excellency. I hope you do not see it as an affront to Your Person or Office...It is just an observation of mine based on facts as Your lofty position and retinue of aides keep screening you from seeing what lies beneath You.



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