Alhaji Shehu Dikko: Blazing The Trail Of A New NPFL, Nigeria Football
By Our Correspondent
Brilliance and class have combined perfectly to mould one of Nigeria’s finest brains in sports branding, marketing and administration. His eyes sees the money, his head works the mathematics and his brain conjures the idea. That’s what sets him apart from his contemporaries and what has catapulted him to the very top, among the great dinosaurs of our time and an icon among his peers
Today he walks tall in the midst of increasing economical frustrations, biting recession and an unbearable hardship. He has steady the ship of the LMC, he has repackaged the Nigeria professional football league and has brought hope to Nigeria football from the belly of a dying shark. His exploits comes with daily accolades, his brilliance and benevolence has left doubting Thomases gasping for breath even as he continues to strive for excellence in the face of daunting challenges.
On Saturday night, inside the beautiful Eko le meridien hotel, Dikko stood tall as the master of ceremony Gbenga Adeyinka the first pronounced him among over twenty awardees on the day. The football family stood to applaud a champion, they can’t but appreciate the man and the moment. No one contested the decision, no one kicked against the choice, rather everyone present stood with hands raised to the skies as the cameras struggled for space to catch a glimse of an enigma.
Former Abia state governor and pillar of sports in Africa, Orji Uzor Kalu could not hold back the emotions as he poured out the encomiums on a man he describes as the living legend. ” I have monitored his exploits in the league for the past two seasons, I have watched him speak severally on television and his humility despite all these achievements have left me head bowed in appreciation. Nobody can tell me that a man can change our league with such dexterity but Shehu has achieved that in just over one year. That young man is a magician he concluded”
As governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu masterminded the the success story of Enyimba in the CAF champions league, winning it back to back in 2003 and 2004. Six years ago in an exclusive media outrage, he regretted the falling standard of the league and blamed the inability of another Nigerian team to claim a continental title on the dearth of talents in the league. Today, he is hopeful that the emergence of Dikko could sway success to Nigeria in the continent very soon.
Rivers state governor Nyesome Wike emerged the Sun Newspaper best governor of 2016. His wasn’t much of a surprise too but he was humble in victory to say a few words about Dikko. ” That young man is a genius he said pointing at Dikko who sat just three tables away. Now my Rivers United go away to pick points. All thanks to the reforms this man has brought to the league. My commissioner of sports once told me that clubs no longer pay referees indeminities and that too is a big plus. I just hope he will not be distracted by negative forces around us. He deserves all the accolades he is getting because he has done really well.
These were not the only Nigerians who took time to extol the leadership qualities of Dikko. NFF executive committee member and chairman of NFF referees appointment committee Ahmed Yusuf Fresh simply described Dikko as the miracle worker. Chairman of Abia warriors and a director in the LMC, Emeka Inyama was more excited than anyone on the day. He says Dikko has given Nigeria football a new lease of life with the NPFL. He salutes his ingenuity and described him as a silent magician.
From a file carrying marketing consultant to the NPL under Chief Oyuiki Obaseki, Dikko has risen so fast in just a few years to become the chairman of one of Africa’s fastest growing league body. Today, the NPFL is rated among the top five leagues on the continent, Nigeria clubs now sell players directly from the NPFL to top leagues around the world ( example Ezekiel Bassey from Enyimba of Aba to FC Barcelona of Spain) and Nigeria referees have returned to CAF reckoning as they now handle continental matches a sharp contrast to what it used to be before the coming of Dikko.
Like the humble soldier, Dikko is not allowing these achievements excite him just yet, he will not embark on a shooting spree knowing that the battle has only started rather he hopes to build on these for greater glories.
” We are humbled by this award. I said we because the successes recorded so far is not the handiwork of one person. All of us worked really hard to get this far. The LMC, the club chairmen, the clubs, the players, the referees and the media contributed to this success. This award is a challenge to all of us to do more. This award has now set us in the limelight. It has exposed us to public scrutiny and like the golden fish, we no longer have any hiding place. Our motto from now on, is work, work and more work”. He concluded.