2022 NFF Election: Unfolding The Tsunami That Could Engulf A Selfish Federation

2022 NFF Election: Unfolding The Tsunami That Could Engulf A Selfish Federation

A potential crisis is brewing in Nigerian football that could impact the future of the game for good, or for worse.

A few days ago, the Professional Footballers Association of Nigeria, PFAN, rang some warning bells.

The body has set up a Special Task Force to drive 4 amendments in the statutes of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, in some key areas they describe as fundamental to holding free and fair elections into the Executive Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation when the tenure of the present board expires in September, 2022, two months to the start of the World Cup in Qatar in November.

The Task Force has given the NFF a 90-day ultimatum, to fix the constitution or else, what…? 

The PFAN did not state what it will do should their warning go unheeded.

To start with, the PFAN is not listed as an affiliate member of the NFF. Or is it?

It will take the present General Assembly comprising those that will be most affected by the amendments to make the requested amendments.

Will the members not be shooting themselves in the foot and surrendering the power they had etched as articles in the constitution that guarantee and protect their place there?
One of the contentious articles is the one that  empowers the 37 State Association Chairmen, most of them (political) appointees of State governments, to determine with the strength of their unjustifiable numbers, 37, who becomes President of an association that is set up originally and primarily by, and for, the clubs, and not State FAs.

To compound matters, a new dimension has been added to the power equation in Nigerian sports.  The Ministry of Sports now assuming it’s stronger role in supervising all of sports and ensuring equity, justice, no breaches or infringements of constitutional rules, no conflict with national laws, fair play and a level playing field.

It bared its new fangs by disallowing the board of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, from playing any pranks during the recent elections into the board, insisting, for example, that the date for the elections is sacrosanct and tenure elongation by any resolution of the outgoing board is unacceptable, even at the risk of affecting the athletes preparing for the Olympics just around the corner. 

So, the direction of the present ministry is clear. The NFF shall not be a sacred cow. Its elections shall hold in September 2022, before the World Cup.  Or will an elongation, in this case, be acceptable to the Ministry?  That’s what the Task Force says it wants to take care of now.

But can it? Does it have the powers of enforcement? Or has the bubble burst for the shenanigans that infected and influenced previous elections into Federations? Is a new day about to birth in football administration from the next elections? How will those in the outgoing board react to these proposed developments and to the PFAN’s ultimatum? Is this just all ‘sound and fury signifying nothing’?

One of the principal actors behind this whole project is a man many in the sports fraternity love to hate. He is seen by many as a rebel without a cause, often championing or being a part of agitations against almost every board of the NFA since Ibrahim Galadima’s in 2004.

Irrepressible, ‘bad boy’, Harrison Jalla heads the Task Force set up by Tijani Babangida, President of the PFAN.

Segun Odegbami

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