The Sorry State of the Nigeria Premier League

I want to express my unhappiness and disgust on the sorry state of the Nigeria Premier League and this press release is made with a view to express how urgent it is for every concerned individual to take immediate measures of correction before the situation gets catastrophic.  It is painful when I read on the pages of News Papers, hear on the radio or watch on the television the present state of the Nigerian League; where millions of naira cannot be accounted for, cases of match-fixing has turned to be the order of the day, violence and molestations amongst clubs at match venues are so rampant, accusation of bias on the leadership of the League against clubs (even clubs representing the country) all these amongst other issues are very pathetic.

I can say categorically that the litany of court cases rocking Nigeria sports , most especially the football house stem mainly from the unfair and partial handling of issues affecting the Nigerian League and that all the negative happenings in the Nigeria Premier League cannot but be apportioned to the fraudulently installed leadership of  the NPL.

I have made several efforts to correct the injustices that have become prominent in Nigeria today in the last 14 months but, all my legitimate efforts have yielded no result due to certain unhealthy tendencies within the football system by a small cabal. Several appeals have been made by me against the questionable election that brought in the present leadership of the Nigeria Premier League and it is still a surprise that the Nigeria Premier League Appeals Committee have not been allowed to seat over the matter and adjudicate as stipulated by the NPL electoral guidelines in tandem with the NPL statutes.

It is very unfortunate and laughable that rather than allow the Nigeria Premier League Appeal Committee seat over the matter, the Nigeria Football Federation in its wisdom decided to constitute a committee headed by Barr. Eddy Mark (who is the personal Lawyer of Rumson Baribote, the illegal NPL Chairman). The issue becomes a matter of an interested party or the issue of a Judge sitting on his own case… just as Baribote minuted on my appeal which was not addressed to him being an interested party.

The above equally exposes the notion that the Nigeria Football Federation probably one way or the other is enjoying the crisis that is rocking the Nigeria Premier League. It is becoming obvious that the NFF as the superintending body has encouraged illegalities being perpetrated in the NPL. Apparently, one presupposes that it may not get fairness and justice from the present set up in the Nigeria Football administration. I don’t see any convincing reason, why the football house cannot encourage or empower crisis resolution mechanisms, embedded in the statutes and electoral guidelines for people to get justice.

However, as much as I find it very uncomfortable that today; the Nigeria Premier League is being audited for missing millions of naira, I take solace in the fact, that I am being vindicated because I raised the alarm when these unhealthy cases of missing funds started, unfortunately, only very few people cared to listen to me. In general, the Nigerian League scorecard has been very poor in the last season and I believe that it is as a result of the inept and visionless leadership of the NPL which points to the fact that when the head is sick, the body is sick as well.

The attempt to stand justice on its head has failed and its only a recipe for more confusion and crises. I therefore call on the concerned officials (Sports Minister) and draw the attention of the Premier League Clubs to address these:

  1. The Nigeria Premier League Appeals Committee should seat and address the issue of the questionable election that produced the present NPL embattled leadership in line with the NPL electoral guidelines and NPL statutes, as well as look into;

I.            Why the Rumson Baribote  (an interested party) will be the one to minute on my electoral petition and direct it to the Nigeria Football Federation, stating therein that there is no place for appeals in the Nigeria Premier League statutes (inspite of the fact that it is clearly provided for by the NPL statutes and electoral guidelines)

II.            Why will, in an attempt to satisfy Baribote, the Nigeria Football Federation constitute an Appeals Committee on a matter that is completely out of their area of jurisdiction when the NPL has a properly constituted Appeals Committee as clearly highlighted by the FIFA Standard Electoral Code.

III.            Why the NFF will make Barr. Eddy Mark that represented Rumson Baribote during the Election Arbitration case (between Baribote and Owumi) the one to sit as the NFF Appeals Committee Chairman on an electoral petition brought against his client by me.

IV.            Why the NFF will allow/encourage Baribote and his band of conspirators concurred an indefinite suspension on the only representative of South West Zone of Nigeria on the Premier League since last year (for no cogent reason other than victimization to undermine the legitimate petition against his very questionable election). It is unfortunate that the South West has been disallowed from having representation on the NPL and this has led to oppression and victimization of clubs from the South West in the last season.

 

  1. The present financial scandal rocking the Nigerian Premier League is quite unfortunate and I therefore charge:

I.            The Clubs to live up to their responsibilities and expectations as owners of the league and the controllers of the board. They should put aside fear and address the issues courageously. I am convinced that the clubs can call the board and Staff of the NPL to explain how the quantum amount of money declared missing disappeared. They can as well invite other respected Independent Audit Panel to look at all the issues of missing money and mismanaged funds.

II.            The Minister for Youth and Sports to take a bold step in line with his oath, dictates, demands and authority of his hallowed office to ensure that the cancerous situation of the Nigeria Premier League is looked into with a view to heal the injustices and reposition the league so much that tax paying Nigerians are not continually being ripped off.  Concerted monitored efforts should be geared at ensuring that the league can become an enviable league like we have in other climes. I also urge Hon. Bolaji Abdullahi to order, in writing, the Nigeria Football Federation to stop and correct their prejudices and perceived biased interruptions on this matter of my appeal about the Nigeria Premier League illegal election that took place on the 14th of September, 2011.

As heart-warming as it is that the Nations President recently called a sports summit with a view to engender Private Public Partnership in Sports Development in Nigeria, so as to motivate the Corporate and Business World for sponsorship and partnership, the question that begs is, which corporate organization will be ready to put money on the development of the Nigerian Premier League with all the leadership crisis and plethora accusations of fraudulent acts rocking the Nigerian League? Of a fact, the scandalous allegation of missing money will debar intending sponsors from making contributions thereby frustrating the laudable intentions of Mr. President which to my mind is one of the major ingredients that Nigeria needs for sporting growth, most especially football.

It is scientific that the darkest part of a night is at the point of dawn, the present situation demands that the Honourable Minister for Youth and Sports in conjunction with the Premier League Clubs take a radically bold step in ensuring that a new progressive dawn visits the Nigeria Premier League. I am also calling on the NFF to in line with the superintending role of their office re-adjust their stands and allow justice to prevail.

Members of the Press should also note that they have a big role to play in ensuring that the Nigerian Football Administration is put in the right perspective hinged on justice and equity with a view to condemn all corrupt and unrighteous intrigues and negative tendencies that destabilize the system. They should also make sustained efforts at highlighting the how and why the NFF and other concerned agencies should create an environment that encourages progress and development in the interest of the game and benefit of the Nation.

God bless Nigeria.

 

 

Akin Akinbobola

 

 

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