On the 29th December, 2009, the General Assembly of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) at an Extra- Ordinary General Assembly held in Abuja adopted and approved a governance instrument for the football body and which took effect from the 5th of January, 2010.
The instrument was subsequently christened “2010 NFF STATUTES”.
Consequently, the STATUTES thus became a compelling law that must be obeyed, respected and totally be submitted to by the bodies and officials of the Federation in accordance with Article 7 of the new STATUTES.
With the new governance instrument, football Stakeholders, bodies and officials alike began to discharge their duties in more organised manner. There was less rancor or disorderliness. Football administrators nationwide became aware of what they can do or can’t do. A near perfect system!
Between year 2010 and 2014, there was order, sanity and football growth round the national teams and grassroots development of the game was steady. Our Leagues and clubsides were progressing and much more competitive.
Then, it was always a joy to associate with Nigerian football. There was a lot of respect for all the world for our football. Some of the Africa countries found it necessary to come down to Nigeria to understudy how we administer and organise the beautiful game.
All these were achieved simply because of our dedication to the rules of the game, honesty, focus on the Germaine things and ultimately genuine passion to deliver on reason for being a football administrators.
Today, unfortunately the reverse is the case, administrators now focus on how to develop themselves and also make their pockets bulge and very deep. There’s no more regard for rules, regulations and laws of the game.
Even, the most revered STATUTES is being constantly abused, disregarded, and at times discarded like an old forgotten dusty paper.
At some point if they realise that the STATUTES is available and relevant, they quote articles upside down even if they want to use it to suit a purpose.
This kind of deliberate attitude is dastardly, wicked and highly dangerous.
The NFF uncanny actions of reveling in disobeying it’s STATUTES, an act that is tantamount to committing serious breach of trust and an absolute illegality.
The most unfortunate thing is the ease at which Stakeholders keep quiet in the face of NFF provocative gestures and obediently accept whatever that is being thrown at them hook, line and sinker. It’s terrible.
Who will save our football from the cesspit of bewilderment and total collapse?
The latest of the NFF infractions of the STATUTES came on Thursday, 29th. July, 2021 through a NOTICE sent to the Congress members with reference no. NFF/GEN/458/1/6 inviting them to the Extra- Ordinary General Assembly slated to hold in Benin City, Edo State on Sunday, 8th August, 2021.
According to the notice signed by the NFF General Secretary, the only agenda for the meeting is “Amendment of the 2010 NFF STATUTES”.
He added that the convocation of the meeting was at the instance of the Executive Committee of the organisation.
Ordinarily, laymen would just read and concur with the spirit of the notice taking as a harmless invitation.
Interestingly, it is more than what it is. The notice as simple as it is, brutally infringes on Article 29, sections 3 and 4 of the 2010 NFF STATUTES.
While Article 29, section 3 states that “the members SHALL be notified of the place, date and Agenda AT LEAST ONE MONTH before the date of an Extra – Ordinary General Assembly”, section 4 of the same Article states that “when an Extra – Ordinary General Assembly is convened on the initiative of the Executive Committee (as in this case), it must draw up the Agenda “.
Now, dealing with the first aspect which is section 3, a cursory look at the NFF notice dated 29th July, 2021, notifying Congress members of an Extra – Ordinary General Assembly slated for Sunday, 8th August, 2021, a notice of ten (10) days instead of the least period of thirty (30) days provided for in Article 29, section 3 of the STATUTES.
This is a gross disobedience of the law and a deliberate act of playing on the intelligence of Stakeholders.
Similarly, in a dubious effort to side – step the effect of section 4 of Article 29, NFF General Secretary, who failed to draw up Agenda for the Extra – Ordinary General Assembly in the notice he sent to members, merely stated that the Agenda of the meeting is “Amendment of the 2010 NFF STATUTES”.
This is lazy, vague and did not do well to comply with the relevant provisions of the STATUTES, rather it was just a clever way purposely designed to hoodwink members of the Congress into taking hurried decisions on otherwise Germaine issues bothering on the fundamental and future of Nigerian football without proper and painstaking scrutiny, robust debate and high level consultation with members constituencies of whatever the STATUTES amendment proposal of the Executive Committee in order to get a concrete and generally acceptable document.
It is ridiculous to learn that NFF would only state that Agenda for meeting is just amendment of the STATUTES when the same instrument requested them to draw up an Agenda.
If the amendment of the STATUTES is your Agenda, which aspect of the Articles and/or sections of the STATUTES are you proposing to the Congress for amendment or do you want to amend the whole 87 Articles of the STATUTES?
What really is the NFF hiding?
The answer may not be far -fetched.
Intrigues, manipulation and high-wire political maneuverings often permeate anytime NFF Elections are around the corner. There are always underhand tactics from the incumbents to outdo and strangulate any opposition, both seen and unseen.
Already, there are allegations that the incumbent President is aggressively planning to contest for another term tagged “the third term agenda”.
His cronies and aides have been saying his third-term ambition is sealed and totally delivered despite the poor performances of the various national teams coupled with the fact that domestic football is in shambles and glaring lack of development of the game at the grassroots level.
It is therefore not surprising that this Extra-Ordinary General Assembly is being convened.
Information filtering indicated that the actual reason the meeting was called is to seek to amend the STATUTES to enable the leadership shift the date of the Elective Congress from September 2022 to the year 2023 using the 2022 FIFA World Cup as an excuse.
If the election shift is attained, it will provide him with a good and ample opportunity to prosecute the World Cup with its fat budget and a guaranteed over Ten (10) Million United States Dollars FIFA grant for participating in the 2022 World Cup.
Of course 2018 FIFA World Cup was a solid bounty and who would not want a repeat of such a wonderful windfall or do anything possible to have a repeat of that experience many times over including trampling on the STATUTES illegally.
Disregarding the STATUTES particularly on this suspicious occasion can only lead to a disastrous end.
For a word is good for the wise.
BY OYETUNDE ADERIBIGBE