NFF: #Ambassador Chris Giwa, now that you have taken #over.

By Collins Ajibola.

After almost two years of the legal battles and struggles to reclaim the mandate of the presidency of the Nigerian Football Federation, a Federal High Court in Jos, Plateau State, on the 8th day of April, 2016 nullified the election that brought Amaju Pinnick and his board into office. Football stakeholders and enthusiast were overwhelmed and happy with judgment.

Amaju Pinnick and Chris Giwa...substitution by elimination.
Not because Giwa was the perfect replacement, but because as a nation guided by law, injustice must not be allowed to reign supreme. After all, it is said that in a lawful society, nobody is above the law. With this landmark judgment, it became obvious to us that we need to be on the edge expecting growth and development of football in Nigeria.

One thing I am still not clear with is that, did Pinnick think he will remain on that seat for life? Well, he recently said, as a Warri boy, he was going to fight to finish. As a public commentator and sports enthusiast, am personally glad that, with all the stakes and concerns, our football is about to witness an unprecedented development with the calibre of team around Ambassador Giwa.

Every Nigerian lover of football, I mean an average Nigerian who loves sports and especially football, accepted the verdict of the court, except for some who failed to realise that a new sheriff was in town and this wasn’t like in the past when rule of law was abused and court pronouncements disregarded.

Many would ask can our football ever be taken to the peak again? How do you expect a President coming on board with heavy burden of rotten system, corruption, mismanagement of scarce resources to move on strong? How do you expect him to do magic and rebuild our NFF?

How and where will the cleansing start? The fact remains that destiny made this happen and destiny will guide you. Now that you have assumed the mantle of leadership, the very first thing I want you to do is to remain your humble self as you have always been.

Knowing that you are a product of destiny, you should sit down and liaise with those that are already ahead of you in the administration of football in Nigeria and abroad. I expect you to visit the different categories of leadership within the football family, from past presidents, stakeholders, media, fans, the youth, the women in football, and have one-on-one pep talk with them.

This can be a behind the scene kind of conversation. In that process, you will have a more in depth understanding of the issues and concerns that have bewildered our football while you were away seeking redress.

Ambassador sir, you shouldn’t sit and make policies that do not address the concerns of the football lovers. It will be wisdom for you to see how you can reach out to the various areas that make up the entire polity of the Nigeria Football Federation. You also have to as a matter of importance sit with the every member of your board and hear their heart.

Our football has suffered enough. We have one of the most mismanaged football house in Africa. We lack infrastructure, there is high rate of decay in the system and in all facets. Without any iota of apology to anybody, the NFF is about the most unfortunate federation in the world.

I say this because, as strategic as our nation and the talents that abound, it still baffles me to see that presidents come and go and the state of our football remains the same. I have tried, but still can’t explain the mystery behind that.

Sir, for me, wherever the problem is obvious, it gives room to say the solution is handy. It is when a problem is hidden that you will struggle to find solution. The problem of our football is obvious. Sir, many areas call for urgent attention, but you need to look thoroughly at the key areas that require speedy intervention.

Make the NFF your project as you have always seen it. What are the areas that need urgent attention, if it is talents harnessing, give it a timeline, if it is infrastructure, give it a timeline to achieve your set goals regarding infrastructural development, if it is promotion and branding of our leagues, please, do same.

The truth about our sports and not only Football is that, we have problem with our value system. We don’t attach value to our resources and talents; we only go after the resources of our value. You must do everything you can to make sure that the areas that will help our football and your administration have stability are addressed.

Remember, if the foundation is not solid, there is no need thinking about the structure. I implore you to look at the areas that will have direct impact on the people and hit the ground running. Nigerians careless about who takes credit, what they want now are the answers to their question of promoting our football.

The qualifiers for Russia 2018 are very much around. I can assure you that if these areas are taken seriously and with commitment, our football will begin to experience transformation in no distant time. I know there will be some challenges. That is what tests a man’s prowess.

Like comedians will say, “when challenges hit you, your creative abilities will come out by all means”. This is because our creative abilities has to be put to question. It is high time we look beyond one sponsor. I have read your blueprint and guide. Sponsors will queue for recognition, I bet you.

Every family, local government, state in this country has talents that can be harnessed to be world greats. It is rather unfortunate that past presidents failed in the aspect of harnessing these talents; I won’t go deeper on that.

My definition of leadership is influence and impact. You have to make impact and influence the people through your policies and programmes. This is not time to only wear your thinking cap; I must say that, this is the time to live a life of thinking and conceptualisation. We are in a very modern age. With the decayed football system you have inherited sir, which football federation across the globe or country do you have as a role model, try to visit such country, you are a President and in your capacity you can reach any federation in the world and they will gladly attend to you, especially when you have ideas that they can buy into.

I wish you all the very best as you strive to re-write the history of our prestigious unifying factor, our darling football and place it jealously among the committee of Federations in the world.

About Dunio Mabushi


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