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Analysis Update

How Leadership Tussle Made State Football Associations So Powerful

Ego tripping and superiority battle within the leadership of NFA in 2008 was what actually led to the State Football Associations becoming arrogantly powerful and more dominant in the Nigeria Football set-up.

Prior to when the idea was conceived and delivered, there had been a serious altercation between the Chairman of the NFA, Alhaji Sani Lulu Abdullahi and late Chief Oyuki Obaseki, the then Chairman of Nigeria Premier League Board.

The crisis was so terrible that it engulfed and nearly destabilised football administration completely in the country.

There were camps building up around the two gladiators. The division was becoming alarming and the centre refused to hold. Fifth columnists, rumor mongers and agents of distabilisation milled around. Bubble must burst!

After much bickerings, spats, the NFA Board decided to look into many allegations ranging from disobedience, lack of respect, disregard and gross insubordination to the constituted authority.

Consequently, a high-powered Ad – Hoc investigative panel headed by a member of the Board, Dr. Peter Singabele, was formed to look into the cause (s) of the crisis and to recommend to the Board it’s findings and ways to nip in bud such occurrence in future.

Fair enough, the two combatants were invited to face the panel. Sani Lulu Abdullahi honoured the invitation of the panel, while Obaseki declined thrice.

Of course, he was found guilty of all allegations and was recommended for suspension from all football- related activities for a period of five years.

The Panel’s recommendations were upheld by the Board and so the final nail to dislodge Chief Obaseki was hammered. His “Moving Train” had been effectively derailed . Thus the battle seemed to have been won and lost.

But to the NFA the first was only half way won. It must be total! Obaseki’s backbone and source of strength must be broken and uprooted.

Therefore, it was also resolved that when presenting the suspension of Chief Oyuki Obaseki to the Congress for final ratification at the year’s General Assembly the Board would also propose the Constitution of Statutes Review and Drafting Committee to midwife a new Statutes for the Association.

Ultimately, the motive behind the shenanigan was to bring cosmetic changes that will ensure unchallengeable powers of the Football Associations so that people like Obaseki would henceforth bow and crumble before the almighty lord of the jungle.

Chief Obaseki was a Titan as NFL Chairman leading to power tussle with then NFF President Sani Lulu

In view of this, a proposal to reduce the number of members of the VOTING Congress to manageable size of 44 and mostly comprising of 37 States Football Associations including the FCT, reduction of other members of the NFA to just seven (7), one per each member etc.

The reduction of the voting Congress members was seen as masterstroke by the leadership of NFA then. To them, they have succeeded in warding off influences from the Government, the Surbordinate Leagues and other interest groups.

However the NFA believed that they are one and the same with the State Football Associations to the extent that every other residual powers were subsequently willed to them in exchange for their loyalty. A case of he who pays the Piper dictates the tune.

Though they are still very grateful and loyal, they are now so formidable and powerful that they determine who occupies the top echelon of the NFA/NFF.

FIFA accepted NFA’s proposal and changes with minor adjustments and today,  the rest is history and obviously no thanks to the gladiators


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