By Tolulope Oguntimehin
Some FA chairmen are playing some games in a bid to remain in office. Also, some government officials are also making efforts to put their stooges in office. While trying to come to terms with the whole scenario, I heard about the removal of the Edo FA chairman with a few days to the election.
The most painful part of all the drama is the fact that the NFF had decided to keep mum about the whole drama. While trying to dissect the whole issue, I receive a text message from an unknown number about a joint zonal meeting of the Nigeria Referee Association reportedly called by the NFF President, Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau.
The notice reads: “I have been directed to inform all the councils’ Chairmen and Secretaries that the joint meeting of the North Central, North East and North West of NRA has been scheduled as follows:
1. Venue of the meeting: R and K hotel, Magajin Rumfa Road, Opposite DSTV Office, Nasarawa, GRA, Kano.
2. Date of arrival/Meeting: 24th April, 2023
3. Date of departure: 25th April, 2023.”
The statement was signed by Omale Clement O. (Zonal Sec), for the Zonal Coordinator.
At face value, there is nothing wrong with the northern block calling for a meeting, especially with the NRA election ahead. However, what baffles me was the name of the NFF President, Ibrahim Gusau, being mentioned in that breath and being reported to have called for the meeting, paid for accommodation and flight tickets of participants in a bid to sway the vote for his anointed candidate, Sani Zubairu.
Is the NFF President only for the North? Why are Southwest and Southeast not part of this meeting in far away Kano? This might likely lead to division within the association instead of uniting the family.
According to information reaching me from the grapevine, the NFF President was reported to have spoken to powers that be in the NRA to stop some candidates from contesting for NRA Presidency, one of them is the former secretary general of NRA, Prince Moruf Oyekunle Oluwa, Elder Olokor Daniel and Dr Omeiza Suleiman. All three candidates contesting are from North Central including the anointed one Alh. Sani Zubairu.
I say categorically that the power block within the NRA, supported by the NFF President, was able to convince Oyekunle Oluwa and Elder Olokor to forgo their ambition to become President despite being from the North Central referees council.
However, the power block was unable to stop Dr Omeiza because he is neutral and a man manager in addition to having the support of his constituency. His achievements in the course of the game and after the game are remarkable. So, if it boils down to achievements, then he is a man to take NRA to the top. Besides all these, he is also a full fledge northerner, unlike Oluwa and Co.
It has also been alleged that the NFF President is mounting increasing pressure on the outgoing EXCOs, requesting them to send the phone numbers of all delegates. One would be forced to ask what the NFF President has to gain from all of these. Is this an effort to make the NRA subservient to NFF?
The question is which agenda is NFF President pursuing? Why is he trying to favour a particular candidate over another?
The NRA is an independent body and any attempt to interfere or influence the body’s election will be met with stiff resistance from the members.
The NRA is an affiliate of NFF, not a subsidiary. The President should remain neutral and, like a father, should not favour any person but support whoever emerges at the end of the day.