GIWA, NFF, LMC, proxy war and us

By Daily Sports on May 2, 2016

Views: 5,192

Dear readers, I sincerely apologise for the unavoidable absence of your favourite weekly column, Sports Pulse, last week. It is highly regretted. It was not deliberate; rather, there was a very serious mix-up discovered by our eagle-eyed boss few minutes to when the page was about going to bed. Pronto, it was rested.

I got all your enquiries via sms. Many of you that insisted broke the existing rule (of sms only) and called the number. Even my other line was not spared. I enjoyed you all, to say the very least. Thank you so very much for your unalloyed loyalty to everything Daily Sports; we highly appreciate you.

This week, I will revisit the disturbing trend in Nigerian football. The cloud hovering over the beautiful game remains highly upsetting and if nothing drastic is quickly done to stem the slide it would set the tone for the final nail on the sport in the country. This is no jokes or trying to raise alarm.

The above caption was arrived at after a critical look at the happenings and analysis of the events that have been raging in the football arena. The truth is that those fighting for the very soul of the game in the country are unrelenting in their determination to snuff the life out of the world’s most populous sport. You’d be sad if you know the grand plot to destroy the only game that unites Nigerians, to the extent that even the dreaded blood hirsty sect, Boko Haram, ceases fire to watch national team matches.

Those fighting football in the land have gone steps further to ensure they get to the topmost cadre of administering the game either by hook or crook. Top political party members are at work helping them to see how far they can go. Fortunately, world football governing body FIFA fortified it statutes and it is supreme and binding on any country that is a member of the organisation.

That is why their fight and efforts will be in vain at the end of the day. However, their intention is dangerous to the game. They are a kill joy. They are not sportsmen as they have not demonstrated any sportsmanly spirit. I am scandalised. Their mission is to hijack the leadership of the game, bungle it and rip open its soul. That is their shameful mission in the house of football and highly placed government officials are fanning the embers of discord for them. They thought they would bring into the arena the very polluted, betrayed and deceitful Nigerian politics into football by pushing and instructing Chris Giwa never to let the sport know peace in the nation.

My consolation is that they are fighting a lost battle. The present executive committee board will serve out its tenure. Nobody can come through the back door to the plum position of Nigeria’s apex football governing body. This is not Nigerian politics where such twist is the order of the day. FIFA is in firm control of the game worldwide; Nigeria can never be an exception.

My candid take for Chris Giwa and his group is for them to lay down their guns and join the crusade of making Nigerian football great as they wait for the next election. Using one of the major political parties to see how he can destablise the system will not help his cause and ambition to be at the helm of football administration in the country. It attracts more enemies for him as it will also portray him as a trouble maker, killer and pretender. The bitter truth is that no President, be he Military or democratically elected, would remove Amaju Pinnick and his board. Their tenure is stamped and sealed. One thought Chris knew that. His actions and inactions so far are not only a nuisance but also an embarrassment to all that he represents.

Let me confess that I was an ardent fan of Chris Giwa when he started the then just struggle. I wrote to propagate it without knowing him. The records are when I was with Newswatch Times. I have not met him before. It can be safely said that he is paying dearly for his inconsistencies.

Giwa, I must say, is one of the luckiest among the persons who have ever agitated to lead Nigerian football. It is instructive to note that the likes Kojo Williams, Ibrahim Galadima, Sani Lulu Abdullahi, Aminu Magari, etc, none of them got the support Giwa had initially. I was following him keenly and reporting graphically his activities without waiting to know him or his agents because he was on the right path. Giwa could be said to be so lucky then to have two ministers from two different governments and two other different political parties within the space of two to three years to have supported him in becoming the President of NFF then. He has squandered all these. He is has failed woefully to know that the beat of the music has long changed.

The over ambitious man is dancing naked in the market square to the discordant tune of the drums that is set to consume his tall ambition. The ovation has long ceased to be loud. Shamefully, he has refused to leave the scene. The false drummers are deceiving him and now see the deep ditch they are leading him into! I have long also distanced my good self from him because FIFA observed the election that heralded the enthronement of Amaju Pinnick and his executive committee members. To further disown Chris Giwa, he lost his deposit at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS). I really don’t know what he wants. This may sound blunt but it is the truth: he will see the Promised Land, but won’t enter it. It is his self-inflicted burden. Nobody should cry for him.

That was how l lost appetite and my stomach terribly turns each time I read his blind argument tailored towards his claim to the Presidency of NFF. I often react this way to no one else. Why is this man that looks a gentleman in wonder land of deceiving himself? That is the pitiful and lonely world in which he has found himself now.

When such occurs, my questions would be: Who advises this man? Who are his friends? Is ascending to the throne of NFF by force or a matter of life and death? Why has he pursued this thing as if his life depended on it? Why has he sadly chosen the inglorious path of embarrassing himself, his family and friends? What agenda does he have that would make him the messiah we have been expecting to salvage the sport in the country? All these and more kept coming into my mind as he displays his ignorance of the game and the statutes governing it. Someone that has no iota of respect for duly constituted authorities in the saddle, now how would he go about it if ever he would smell that chair?

Giwa is a nonstarter. Let him sit by and learn the ropes. Though l doubt even if he would make it as an executive committee member. He is fighting the game and such unpopular step he has taken has nailed him and his ambition forever. I have reported this game both locally and internationally, the game abhors fellows like him. That is the tight corner Giwa has boxed himself into now.

Those clapping for him cannot tell him the truth because they want his failure. Most of them in their minds would be saying, who is Chris Giwa to occupy the highest seat in football governance in the land? Where is he coming from? Does he think it is for sale to the highest bidder? We will help destroy him. To them, it is already a mission well accomplished. Giwa is licking his bleeding wounds, yet the whistle is on for him. I pity him. He is an enemy within. That he sponsors a team in the Nigeria Professional Football League remains no criterion to become NFF President. He should go down memory lane and know that no football club owner has ruled NFF. I know he is not a student of antiquity. For his roles so far in drawing the sport backwards, history would judge him harshly.

Reports from highly placed people in football circles have it that former Sports Minister Danagogo Jack and the present  Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, had placed all the apparatus of government at their disposal for Giwa to realise his now dead dream. Unfortunately, at every single attempt he ruins them with every attempt less impressive than the one preceding it.

This is largely due to his inconsistency on how to go about it and what he wants to achieve using those privileges. Secondly, the inexperience of the two ministers, including poor strategic thinking and poor knowledge of history and Nigerian football politics by the two ministers, all contributed to Giwa’s difficulties.

It was scooped that at some point, he wanted seasoned administrator and former NFF executive committee member, Gara Gombe Shauibu Ahmed to help him but the former boss of Gombe State FA boss instantly discovered he is not sincere with him. Gara Gombe painted the picture of a desperate Giwa when he alleged that there was a time some people in government wanted him to help, according to him, but they only wanted to use him and did not have the courage to implement what was placed before them. But I ask, are all the moves by Giwa and his cohorts geared towards the good of the game or the usual lip service of grab and grab culture instituted in the polity?

It is an absolutely disturbing scenario, to say the very least. Hear Gombe again, “I do not want to waste energy on what happened during the Danagogo era, but l will spare few statements on what happened now that Solomon Dalung is in charge. Giwa and Dalung wanted to remove Shehu Dikko, the Chairman of League Management Committee (LMC). That was the plan and it was perfected and designed. Giwa wanted to use his controversial case before LMC and the other before the NFF’s Appeals Committee to stop the 2015/2016 season to kick off. His press briefing where he openly disagreed and rejected the decisions of both LMC and NFF’s Appeals Committee sent some bad signals to Nigerian Breweries and some other intending sponsors of LMC. It was at this time that Shehu Dikko sent a woman to Giwa and Dalung; a meeting was held somewhere in Maitama, where Dikko pleaded with Giwa. Thenceforth, there was understanding. Meanwhile, Giwa has been meeting more regularly with Dalung on a lot of issues. Later Dalung asked for a petition to be written to him so that he can use it to “scatter LMC” but suddenly he made a U-TURN.”

Gara Gombe further revealed that their next stop was to take Amaju’s job. He said Dalung encouraged Giwa to write to him, that he would send it to NFF, just like he asked for a petition against LMC which he planned to send to them and he did but they refused to reply until they reached a compromise.

The veteran administrator claimed that Shehu Dikko was said to have involved a very powerful APC politician who intervened on his behalf. Now Amaju is a soft target and one of the reasons given was that Amaju as a PDP loyalist must go, they even said they were looking for the video where it was alleged he (Amaju) abused President Muhammadu Buhari.

The former Adviser to Kano State Government on Sports intelligently asked this question, So who is not a PDP person before now? As a frank fellow, hear him: “Even Gara Gombe was once an aide to PDP Chairman. Giwa was supported by PDP government against Aminu Magari; Dalung was in PDP, and so what? Agreed, Amaju made some terrible blunders as President but the desperate way and manner they are going about it to remove him is not right.”

You will not be wrong if you say that the nation’s football is on emergency. Giwa has directed his searchlight on LMC using his FC Giwa to flout the rules of the League body. We all saw via television what Giwa fans did at Lafia Stadium during their match against Rangers International who led 1-0 at 74 minutes before fans made the arena a war zone.

The game was rescheduled for Abuja but, surprisingly, the Giwa team failed to show up. Then the regulatory body alive to its responsibilities imposed a fine of N2 million on the team. Nobody knows the mind of Chris and his team.

My stand is that lovers of improved local league as we have seen must not fold their hands and watch Giwa truncate this smooth sailing process. His body language tells it except if he proves most of us wrong. My worry is what he would benefit from all his many wars against the youths and young ones of this nation which the game revolves around. They are the present and future of the sport and anybody or group that wants to unsettle it must be seen and regarded as a common enemy of the people. It is our game and it is also incumbent on us all to grow it resoundingly.

It is blue murder to note that some of my colleagues have already queued up behind Giwa, clapping and defending his action and those of Giwa FC, unfortunately making absolute wrong declarations as ill-informed commentators. I watched with utter dismay one, a fellow senior sports journalist, in a sports programme on a certain television misbehaving in the name of defending Giwa and obviously supporting violence at match venues. I was telling no one else, who sent this guy to come up this far to expose and disgrace himself? There and then, he lost the remaining little respect l had left for him because of his children. He gave the impression that he is one of the hired pens of Chris Giwa as alleged by Sports Minister Dalung penultimate week. This will be left for another day if considered relevant, though.

Some people should please call Giwa to order and let him cease fire forthwith. Our once reverend and peaceful football has been highly polluted by him and his cohorts. Let there be peace and harmony so that Amaju and his executive committee would serve out their term. In short, since the ploy to see if stampeding them out would work failed woefully, let them be; that is the best way out of this unnecessary impasse. Meanwhile, we wait!!!

•Victor Enyinnaya can be reached via 08055068145 (sms only) or by e-mail via

Source Daily Sports

Posted May 2, 2016


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