I have read the article titled: “Edoreh, Pinnick’s Errand Boy and the Limits of Amnesia.” It was a rejoinder to my earlier article titled: “Sunday Dare and the Facade of Nigeria Football Reforms.” In some platforms it was indicated as written by one Mansoor, in some other platforms it was indicated as written by Bello Makarfi. Notwithstanding the variations, I know Sunday Dare’s language.
Though they stated that I am “inconsequential,” they still considered my piece “consequential” enough to deserve a response. Gladly, their response did not debunk nor counter any of the issues nor points I raised on the banes of our sports development. That helps us to continue the conversation.
The writers, possibly with Dare’s ensemble of clappers, were piqued that I used harsh words on him. So, in retaliation, they merely threw back all sorts of invectives and petty lies at me.
I do not consider that I insulted the “big man’ and Sports Minister but if they feel so, my apologies.
They also felt that I insulted Segun Odegbami in spite of his legendary. For sure, “Big Seg” knows that I respect him for his playing days but I do not appreciate his shallow, deceptive and pretentious single stories in our national papers to twist the narrative of our sports to serve his personal interest.
He knows that I hold that merely having been a fine footballer does not translate to being a good sports administrator nor manager and that he personally underscores that by his failure to deliver in the several positions he had been entrusted with in our sports. I do not have any apologies for this.
I also actually do not understand how Amaju Pinnick came into the conversation because my article was not about him. It was about the dishonesty I perceive in Sunday Dare’s acclaimed football reforms which resonates with similar pretensions of his predecessors.
I itemised the incidents which, from the period of Tammy Danagogo through Solomon Dalung to Dare, show a recurrent pattern of merely scheming to put their persons in the leadership of our sports bodies while shying away from the real issues affecting the development of our sports. I enumerated the incidents which the writers agree are “issues.”
It was therefore not about running errands for Pinnick. A number of top stakeholders who have engaged me know that I did not support Pinnick to re-contest for the NFF Presidency, knowing how his second election was trouble enough, how the then Minister assembled forces in our football to sign a resolution disclaiming him in his bid to contest into the CAF Executive Committee, how the Minister sat down with former CAF President Ahmad Ahmad in Alexandria, Egypt, to lobby for his removal as CAF Vice President, how the present Minister dodged endorsing him for the FIFA Council election even when the President asked him to do so for a compatriot, until the Permanent Secretary took courage to call a conference to endorse him, how Segun Odegbami celebrated Harrison Jalla’s petitions to FIFA and CAS to disqualify him from contesting into the FIFA Council, the several false corruption charges against him aimed at either sending him to jail or having the government seize his home and other properties.
Most worrisome has been the resort to blackmailing him before the Presidency with such phrases as “sovereignty of Nigeria” “the laws of the land” and, as they recently deployed in their rejoinder, referring to him as “chosen to confront Nigeria and sparing no one from President Muhammadu Buhari…”
That kind of scheming speaks to the darkest of heart. It is a terrible wickedness obviously aimed at having the government to regard and declare Pinnick an enemy of the state, simply for coming into public service or out of envy for surviving strong in the position they desperately want for their friends or for making inroads into the top ranks of world football politics.
I feared for him and advised him that enough was enough, especially having succeeded in serving two tenures which no other NFF President had done. Besides, despite the “bad belle” from home, he won into CAF with 42 votes far and above the then incumbent, championed the removal of Issa Hayatou as President and still got into the FIFA Council. Any which way, he is a priceless asset to CAF and FIFA and any succeeding President of the NFF would still need him to penetrate world football.
But, talking about running errands, I think I have run more errands for Sunday Dare. We have engaged on issues relating to the development of our sports from the very month he was appointed. We have regularly exchanged notes. He has asked me on a number of occaision to write on certain perspectives he considered should be highlighted. He has called me to help reach out personally to some athletes on certain issues. I ran all the errands in the understanding that they were in the interest of our sports.
He, himself, summarised our relationship in these exact words: “Fred, thanks for supporting and criticising me always.”
Those words satisfy me as a journalist. They clearly acknowledge my being of independent mind: that I write with no fear nor favour nor consideration for friend nor foe.
If I had considered “stomach infrastructure” as Dare’s apologists suggest, I most probably would have always been clapping around him for a piece of his ministerial largesse, but as he has acknowledged, I “support” and “criticise” him “always” which I know many politicians do not enjoy.
They also tried to make an issue about my belonging or not belonging to a media. I find that most unintelligent.
Though I proudly publish and edit Sportstalkafrica.com, at my own pace, I thought that the Minister and his men should have known the place of freelance journalism and independent production in our modern world. Even more important is that I write, they see, read and even now respond to my writings. How more effective can one be in practice than writing, being read and responded to by a minister and his coterie of sponsored cabaret dancers?
They also pettily raised issues about Lagos SWAN. I served meritoriously as Secretary and Chairman. I was mentored by Frank Ilaboya and was instrumental to the biggest achievements of the chapter till date. I successfully handed over a huge physical and social asset base, conducted a final Congress at which my audit and reports were unquestioned, adopted and approved and I left gloriously to pursue other things while still keeping an eye on journalism and sports.
True, there was a disagreement between National SWAN and the former EXCO of Lagos SWAN. It had to do with the registration of the association at the CAC and the decision to de-affiliate from the NUJ, both of which Lagos SWAN and a few other chapters challenged. A Full Council Meeting of SWAN looked at and resolved the issues. They called for an amendment to the constitution submitted at the CAC which was done. They examined the NUJ Constitution and SWAN Statutes and, finding no strong legal string attaching SWAN to the NUJ, majority of the state chapters voted to ratify the de-affiliation from the NUJ while allowing individual members who wished to remain members of the NUJ to so do at the level of their individual organisations and Chapels, but the Lagos EXCO refused to go with the majority.
They held an election which they say was supervised by the NUJ, outside the statutes and constitution of SWAN. The National SWAN rejected the election and later set up a Caretaker Committee to organise another election in line with the rules of SWAN.
The disagreement landed both parties even at the DSS which sought to broker peace to avoid institutional and public breakdown of law and disorder. All parties, including the leadership of the NUJ in attendance, examined all the statute books and it was established that the NUJ has no hold on SWAN and, indeed, by its registration at the CAC, it is a full, separate, legal entity. After a long wait for the needful to be done, the DSS supported the Caretaker Committee to go ahead to discharge its mandate.
I state that I have nothing personal, whatsover, to do with all that and I have not been near the Lagos SWAN office for about two years now. Even when they tried to implicate me and the DSS invited me, the Director finally shut me up from speaking, pointing out that I had no locus in the matter.
Perhaps, defending myself on these petty personal attacks are unnecessary. I wished their rejoinder had been limited to the sports development issues I raised in my article, but just to keep the records straight in the interest of the public.
Back to the real issues, I have stated for the umpteenth time that I agree every institution is subject to reforms and re-invention but my grouse with Sunday Dare is that his reforms lack honesty, deep understanding and grace.
For instance, it is not exactly true that the Lagos National Stadium has been or is being fully renovated. The work there is on just the grass pitch and the scoreboard. How can the stadium operate after just those works with the terraces and other critical facilities still in dilapidation? Let’s not even question how much Baba Ijebu and Dangote gave for the Lagos and Abuja stadia? Time will reveal all that, but even the approach to the little work being done in Lagos took the needless expulsion and displacement of over 5,000 businesses and jobs. I consider that most callous under our economic reality, especially so as the businesses were authorised to operate at the stadium by the stadium management and the ministry of sports both of which collected fees and allocated spaces for the investors to establish.
How then could the Minister have disregarded such investments by ordinary citizens and thrown them out with no respite? Under the present economic reality and not minding that government is about the people? I find it evil. They also said it is because they don’t want people to be drinking beer at the stadium? So funny. They also said the Minister wants to return the facility to its 1970s design, leading to the destruction of the sports shops. Isn’t that backward? Reforms should be about adapting to the reality, needs and challenges of the time. What is wrong with the stadium providing space for economic activity for the people?
The Swimming Pool section, for instance, was so bad for about 20 years. An investor engaged the ministry to use his personal resources to rehabilitate it in return for a concession to operate it for some years to recover his investment.
The ministry granted the concession. After his investment, Dare has now constrained the investor from operating it to recover his investment. The man nearly died from the bank debt and interest he secured to make the investment. I do not agree with such inconsistency because it does not inspire the confidence of private investments for the development of our sports.
Also, PUMA got into a $2.7m kit deal with the AFN before the appointment of the Minister but he dismissed the deal ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at which PUMA should have enjoyed the benefits of its sponsorship. Any forward looking leader should have understood to allow the term of the deal to run out but he deceived the Presidency with talks about local content. I doubt if PUMA would want to enter into any deal again with any Nigerian sports federation in the nearest future.
At the end, we saw how one of our potential medallists posted a video of himself washing his single jersey at the Olympic Games Village in Tokyo, to the total global embarrassment of our nation.
We saw how our world champion in Shot Put was not provided the specified competition shoes at same Tokyo Paralympic Games, leading her to lose the gold and her world championship position.
We saw how, in wanting to sack the Ibrahim Gusau board of the AFN, the ministry thwarted its efforts on pre-event doping processes for Nigerian athletes to the Tokyo Games. The consequence was the barring of 10 of our 23 athletes from participation. They staged a protest at the Games Village.
That is apart from sacking the boards of sports federations to enable the ministry exclusively control spending at the games.
We also saw how, after meddling in the leadership of Nigeria Basketball, he pronounced the withdrawal of our teams from international events only for him to recant after the female team had been substituted with Mali for the FIBA Women World Cup.
He claims the success of his Adopt-an-Athlete programme led a state to adopt 10 athletes. Everyone knows that Delta State always programmed and sponsored their athletes and that Ese Brume and many others were already sponsored to the Univerty of Texas in El Paso before his arrival.
I thought that Sunday Dare should be ashamed of these inconsistencies because they are bad, disgraceful and do not make any sense in development, no matter his self-glorifying facade of posing with a silver and a bronze from the games.
It is worse now that, in Nigerian football, he seems obviously to be acting the script of some disgruntled friends who seem to be using his high office to revenge on the system for their past disappointments and pains in our sports politics. Such mindset cannot deliver any edifying nor enduring solutions for development.
A Minister of the Federal Republic should not be seen as acting by the dictation of parochial interests, but Sunday Dare is obviously acting the charge contained in Segun Odegbami’s article of April 2021 titled: “Re-Setting the Button of Nigeria Sports Administration” in which he charged the Minister to tear down the structures and statutes of the NFF and the league body to make way for those whom he claims to be the real owners of the game but who have not succeeded in sports politics.
As journalists and watchdogs, we must be bold, at all times, to reject the tendency for our officials to make laws or institute reforms tailored to suit particular interests because it mortgages society.
It does not also matter if the Minister has gone on to deploy the powers of state to achieve his drive as he has now done by closing the office of the LMC or having Harrison Jalla and his clique secure an injunction against the holding of the NFF elections just so that they can force their persons into the expansion of the congress to overwhelm the existing members.
All might is not necessarily right. It is all a graceless facade of reforms. We saw how, under Dalung, the NFF Secretariat was also seized by same Harrison Jalla and co.
The point remains that Dare is shying away from the real issues of our sports development and just cruising on political power.
In my career, I have seen over twelve sports ministers before him. I know that I know the history of our sports much more that his advisers may have told him, such that his present ministerial braggadocio do not mean a heck to me outside the real issues.
The real issues in the league are, first, the poor facilities, poor management, poor funding, non-business approach of clubs owned by state governments and the poor capacity of complementary sectors to support its functionality.
Sponsorships can only reasonably come in if there is broadcast of the league and the clubs are able to amass and retain followers. When Supersport was in, we saw a robust rebound in the league. Contrary to their claim, Supersport left because the cost of logistics for production was terribly high under the reality of our economy. It then preferred it can only pay broadcast right fee if it can receive clean feed.
Perhaps the only way out would have been if the league body had set up its own television production company because even the national carrier, the NTA, which it tried to partner, could not fill the space. The FRCN could not also afford to provide live commentaries.
I say again that a minister who wants to be taken seriously should have been honest enough to engage these issues and not merely be playing to the gallery of populism.
In dismantling the LMC today to satisfy Odegbami and his friends, the Minister didn’t think deep to see that the earlier composition of the league board that he wants to revert to had even greater problems.
A 2013 Premium Times report titled: “Nigeran Premier League Broke, as Board Begs NFF for Help,” told how the league board could not pay referees indemnities, could not afford to fund the AGM of its own Congress and had to send an SOS to the NFF to fund it. Interestingly that report was written by my sister, Aderonke Ogunleye.
A similar report titled: “Challenges Facing Nigerian League” appeared in Dare’s former newwpaper, PM News in same 2013.
The LMC, at its advent, resolved those issues and jacked up referees indemnity to N100k per match. Unfortunately, after the exit of Supersport it couldn’t sustain the resurgence and there are no indigenous broadcast companies capable enough to step in. In other climes, it would have been a competition.
These whole vicious circle indicates that we have failed to recognise and advert our efforts to treat the real issues and, no matter what Sunday Dare does now with his powers, we will still have to come back to the real issues in the future.
For now, let him continue to wallow vainly in flexing his political powers.
ZENITH BANK APPOINTS DR. JULIET EHIMUAN AS NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
The Board of Directors of Zenith Bank Plc has appointed Dr. Juliet Ehimuan as a Non-Executive Director of the bank effective August 29, 2023. The appointment, which was announced in a statement to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited on Tuesday, August 29, 2023, has also be confirmed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.Dr Juliet Ehimuan is the Founder and CEO of Beyond Limits and the immediate past Director of Google West Africa.
She was named by Forbes as one of the top 20 power women in Africa, by the London Business School as one of 30 people changing the world, and as one of the Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD). She was also featured in the BBC Africa Power Women series, and on CNN Innovate Africa.With over 25 years experience primarily in Technology, Oil & Gas, and New Media industries across Europe, Middle East and Africa; Juliet is a leading voice on Innovation, Transformation, and Leadership.During her remarkable 12-year tenure at Google, Juliet played a pivotal role in expanding the company’s presence in Nigeria and the wider West Africa region. She championed initiatives to increase digital access, local content development, skills acquisition, entrepreneurial growth, innovation, and fostered strategic partnerships with leading private sector and government institutions.Dr Juliet has made significant contributions to the tech ecosystem in Nigeria and Africa at large. She served on committees that developed the national broadband plan and ICT incubation strategy in Nigeria, and has been involved in national strategic advisory groups focused on economic growth. These engagements demonstrate her commitment to shaping the future of tech in Africa. She has received numerous awards for outstanding contribution to the digital landscape in Africa.
She holds board positions across multiple industries including Finance, FMCG, Oil & Gas, Education and social enterprises.Her education includes a Doctoral degree in Business from Walden University in Minneapolis, an Executive MBA from the London Business School, a Postgraduate degree in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge; and a BSc in Computer Engineering (1st class honours) from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. She is a recipient of the London Business School Global Women’s Scholarship, and at Cambridge University was awarded Selwyn College Scholar and Malaysian Commonwealth Scholar. She is a Fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Society.She was awarded IT Personality of the Year in 2012 by the Nigeria Computer Society, Digital Personality of the year 2016 by Marketing World; and received a 2015 Titans of Technology award from Technology Africa. She is a published Author, Executive Coach, and a member of the Forbes Coaches’ Council.
Godwin Obaseki VS Phillip Shaibu: Primate Ayodele Deserves Some Accolades
What people don’t understand, they seek to destroy. It’s sometimes difficult to adapt to change or to accept a certain fact due to several factors including sentiments, affiliations, interests and others. In every sector, there are naysayers who tend to influence the opinion of others on particular subjects but for the purpose of progress, it is high time the world dropped sentiments and faces reality.
Realistically, when it comes to accurate prophecies, Primate Ayodele of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church has performed wonderfully well over the years. He has continued to uphold the prophetic ministry globally with the fulfillment of his prophecies. He has over 15,000 fulfilled prophecies to his credit yet disgruntled elements don’t seem to celebrate him rather, they criticize by sharing lies against him especially in his country, Nigeria.
Although, the criticisms have never hindered the man of God from sharing his prophecies, he has continued to wax stronger by the day, His fame has gone beyond the shores of Nigeria and Africa, He is the only prophet in Nigeria whose prophecies feature consistently in the western media but for their own sake, people need to start celebrating Primate Ayodele more than they criticize him. The bible has made us understand that ‘He who honours a prophet will get the prophet’s reward’ and how can you honour the prophet? By listening to him and following his instructions, the reward you get is the ability to be ahead of situations, opportunity to prepare well for troubles ahead, ability to get solutions to problems before they even happen because you have listened to the prophet who revealed them to you.
This further explains why Nigeria is going through tough times in terms of economy, the government and the citizens failed to honour Primate Ayodele when he warned them before the election about voting for a Muslim-Muslim presidency. The prophet said it several times that if APC returns to power, the country will retrogress and will experience harder times but the people dishonoured the prophet by ignoring his words and now, the citizens are wailing due to hardship because they failed to honour the man of God.
Primate Ayodele is so blessed that he ensures his prophecies are simplified. Unlike some that share prophecies in parables, Primate Ayodele analyses his prophecies in the simplest form to make even a layman understand what he is talking about. Due to the uniqueness and simplicity, it’s surprising that those who are involved in his prophecies ignore him even though they end up regretting and suffering for their insolence.
Among many others, one situation that best describes the above statement is the current brouhaha between Edo governor, Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Phillip Shaibu. It’s been months of cold war between the duo who have been best of friends for several years. The deputy governor recently went to the court to stop moves to impeach him and a few days ago, was embarrassed by security aides of the governor at a public event.
Just yesterday, He walks out of a government event shamefully because his aides were denied entry into the hall and later at night, Governor Obaseki disbanded his media team and asked the ministry of information to step in. Indeed, it’s been serious troubles between the two politicians.
However, maybe this would have been stopped or averted if they listened to the warnings of Primate Ayodele which he shared shortly after they got their second term tenure in 2021.
Primate Ayodele who was the only prophet in Nigeria that foretold victory of Godwin Obaaseki warned that he foresees a fight between the governor and his deputy. He asked both of them to pray against misunderstanding but probably because everything was smooth between them then, they ignored the prophetic revelation.
These were the prophet’s words:
“Governor Obaseki will face challenges even as there will be problems between Obeseki and PDP. Obaseki will disappoint the PDP. The Deputy Governor and Governor need prayers because of unnecessary misunderstandings that will cause leakage in Obaseki’s government. The Governor and the deputy needs prayers for understanding.” (https://theeagleonline.com.ng/obaseki-will-disappoint-pdp-fight-his-deputy-primate-ayodele/)
It’s been three years since Primate Ayodele shared this prophecy and it has now been fulfilled exactly the way He said it. There is serious misunderstanding between them and in the coming days, more dramas will emerge.
For those who may have criticized Primate Ayodele for this prophecy three years ago because they didn’t see beyond what was happening then, I hope they will come to terms with the fact that Primate Ayodele is a real prophet, He is not one of those that does permutation and analysis before they can prophesy, He prophesies when there is no situation on ground and they come to pass when the situation occurs.
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