Nkechi Obi and Nationwide League: One success story

By Daily Sports on May 22, 2017

Views: 28,619

It did not come to me as a pleasant surprise, the tremendous breakthrough of the third tier of the Nigerian League, Nationwide League One (NLO). I logged on to my face book account last week and pronto, very suave Nkechi Obi’s ‘thank you’ message and her subsequent revelation of sponsorship deal for the NLO. I don’t know if you have met Nkechi Obi before. I have.

She is disarmingly unassuming and a highly intelligent African woman. She is into sports management, marketing and events. She is the founder of Premium Sports Management Services Limited. Her company has brokered many successful deals including the coining of ‘Team Nigeria’ to the Olympics. She is a private sector person who has paid her dues. She is an all-rounder and smooth operator.

A recap, as an experienced reporter in sports journalism, I knew her from distance until the build up to the 2014 World Cup summit in Brazil. I was in Daily Newswatch newspapers then. It was at the heat of production that my phone rang. It was the voice of a top football personality. He asked, “Do you know Nkechi Obi?” And my response was in the affirmative, even though she may not have known me too well. The man added, “I have given her your number she will call you so discuss with her.” The rest is now history.

At our maiden meeting, it did not take me time to come to terms, how she operates. She is a no nonsense woman. Her opening shot was after exchange of greetings. She stated categorically that she had people she specifically works with in the media and they deliver precisely, promptly and excellently too. She further said that if not for our mutual friend who insisted on me handling the media aspect of the entire package she would have stuck to her team. I was not perturbed because I knew my stuff too. I listened attentively as listening is the beginning of understanding.

She sized me up critically and I was equal to the task. We began, and at the end of the day, I delivered successfully to her admiration. She told our mutual friend that I performed far more than she expected and told him also that my calmness and boldness to issues remained a plus. I was moved because it came from very outstanding person of Nkechi Obi’s standing. Let me confess that such well-thought-out comment(s) about me always put me on my toes. It was a very successful campaign for the World Cup and it was purely a private initiative.

Truth is that from thence on, she involved me in all her assignments. In short, my work spoke volumes for me before her. I impressed her; one obvious thing about her is that her standard is high. You must be exceptional to meet such standards. As a goal getter, working with her requires going the extra mile to meet up. I enjoyed such and I redoubled my efforts to ensure I came out tops. She likes such. I was part and parcel of her Inaugural Workshop on Annual Sports Industry programme 2015 that drew first class football managers and technocrats from Africa and Europe. It was powered by Sportspro.ng and facilitated by the prestigious Lagos Business School, Ajah. It remain till date, the most far reaching congregation of sports business executives, administrators, top sports journalists and other top brass from different sectors of the economy.

She moves mountains and also one that squeezes water out of stone. She does not believe in half measures, neither does she take no for an answer. She is a staunch believer in thoroughness and she does not hide it from day one of her assignment with you. Her level of independent mindedness remains unequivocal. She is a prodigious thinker who sleeps, dreams, eats, drinks and breeds fresh ideas at the end of the day.

Roundly, a humble and kind woman but full blooded with deep intelligence, a study in character. Saying she is patriotism personified is just to put it mildly. She is one of my few heroines due largely to her flawless contributions in this yet to be tapped milk cow sector. She has initiated positive projects and also concluded same cogently. On the few occasions she involved me in her assignments, it vividly registered deep down in me that she does not believe in half measures. She can drive you hard to achieve collective results and gains. Though, perfection is God’s but Nkechi Obi is one for such eyes. It may not be too wrong to posit that she is one of the few Nigerians that made role model status to the younger ones.

For her, you must earn your money, job, contract and what have you. She detests godfather syndrome that has taken stronger roots in the polity today. Little wonder you found her in the midst  of intellectuals of high repute. I don’t know if you have watched that educative, informative and wholesome Thursday-Thursday Sports programme on Nigeria Television Authority that features her good self, very Godwin Dudu Orumen, Big Sege Odegbami (MON) and some of our other first eleven. She is always among the best brains; such has also endeared her closer to the higher ups.

I’m her ardent fan; I don’t hide or pretend about it. I found her worthy to be associated with because anything she has today is hard earned. She worked herself out via her brain and patience. She does not fear contest, which brings me to her bravery instincts. I don’t identify with idlers, looters, clowns, clappers, pretenders, name droppers and their likes.

She is one of the first ten persons I shared the Daily Sports online newspaper idea with. She told me what and what to introduce, one of which is being grassroots sports friendly, all sports portal. We specially chose Thursdays for it and you will be marveled to behold the traffic hits it generates. Thank you, very indefatigable sister. Your other advice are all intriguing too, which has made the portal one of the most preferred destinations among readers that cut across all ages.

Let me be honest with you, if you are not grounded, informed and spiced them with thick skin, loaded, ready to fly and contribute positively, you cannot be comfortable working for or with her because she believes strictly in bringing something different and exclusive to the table. An advocate of total break away from the ugly past. An innovative character if you like. She often exude absolute confidence, maybe because she is a self-made woman who does not have the proverbial Abraham as father.  A first rate all conquering technocrat to the core.

These and many more informed why I hailed to high heavens her merited appointment as the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL). I said among other things then that she is a round peg in a round hole. She is a workaholic of the first order. I said also, she will turn the fortunes of the NWFL around if she is giving the free hands devoid of unnecessary influences here and there.

Nkechi Obi midwifed what you will read thereafter below. I was in the media interactive session where last year when her working relationship with the Nationwide League One (NLO) was perfected. As I did say earlier, she has a lioness’ heart. She takes delight in fishing in turbulent waters. Nkechi Obi is a wonderful and progressive labourer in the vineyard. Read, be gaped on how she has, like jokes but stylishly turned around the lonely, unprofitable and lower bottom rock, NLO. This is a huge leap forward for this grassroots league platform. This is one of her numerous hallmarks, growing things from nothing to the limelight. Fact is that the little highlighted on her kind of stuff is not exaggerated rather they are just a tip of the iceberg. People that know her exploits would readily attest to that. Have swell time as you engross yourself with her vivid and electrifying account! Enjoy . . .

Nationwide League One signs landmark 5-year N100 million per season partnership deal

Dear Friends,

It is with great pride that I write this update because I was (and still am) involved with this development. Wednesday 10th May, 2017 would go down in the history of grassroots football in Nigeria as a landmark day, as Nigeria Nationwide League One (NLO) – the 3rd tier of the League system in our country – signed a 5-year deal with up-coming digital TV Platform, PIPUL TV as the TITLE / BROADCAST PARTNER of the League. For the NLO, this is the culmination of three years of restructuring and re-positioning the league to attract partnerships that would leverage the goals and objectives of that re-positioning, and impact positively on the fortunes of the clubs and players in the NLO.

The NLO is the grassroots tier of football in Nigeria and is made up of 189 clubs in three Divisions, across all 36 states of the country. It has over 10,000 players, coaches and officials in its Eco-system, and commands an audience of more than 5 Million visitors to its over 2,000 matches each season, with a combined spend by the clubs of between N8 and N10 billion per season, on their operations. The clubs in the NLO are 85% privately owned by people who are truly interested in football development at its primary stage, and the NLO is proud to call people like Kanu Nwankwo, Ogenyi Onazi, Victor Osimhen and a host of other players, alumni of the league. It is doubtful if you started your football career in Nigeria, and currently play for the Senior National team, that you did not start from the NLO

For me personally, it is a culmination of my belief in grassroots sports as the gateway to sports as a business in Nigeria. I have been involved with the NLO for over 3 years now, as Marketing Consultant, and together with the previous board led by Alhaji Ahmed Kawu (who now serves as the CEO) and the current board led by Alhaji Mohammed Alkali, the emphasis has been on projects and initiatives that would raise the profile of the league, enable clubs to generate alternative sources of revenue, empower players financially and technically, and provide a platform for corporate organisations to achieve business and brand benefits. At every step of the way, the topmost target was to get coverage of the league on TV so that we can be seen by all and sundry.

This season, those efforts paid off with this record making partnership deal with PIPUL TV. This deal not only provides an initial cash Rights Fee to the NLO of N100,000,000 (One hundred Million) for the 2016/2017 season, but also provides a platform for the league’s matches to be shown on TV, the clubs to enhance their revenue base, our players and officials to also add to their personal income, and corporate organizations to associate with NLO and be seen to do so. Some details of the deal are as follows:

1. The initial rights fee for the next 4 seasons will increase with each season.

2. PIPUL TV will broadcast 3 live NLO matches each week (mainly from Divisions One and Two)

3. PIPUL TV will provide a 24-hour dedicated NLO channel on its platform, for broadcast of NLO content, which includes delayed broadcast of other matches outside the 3 live matches per week

4. PIPUL TV is committed to additional spend of at least N250 Million on coverage of these matches as well as minor stadia and venues renovations to ensure quality coverage of league matches

5. PIPUL TV will also work closely with NTA Sports to ensure that league coverage is provided across the country on Free-to-air TV, so as to reach as many viewers as possible, and publicise the league, its players and clubs to football fans across the country

6. NLO Clubs also have a chance to serve as distributors of PIPUL TV products and services, on specially negotiated terms. This would enable clubs have alternative sources of revenue

7. NLO players also have a chance to serve as agents for PIPUL TV products and services and earn money doing so.

With TV coverage assured, the NLO is poised to deliver on other partnership platforms that will ensure the league’s goals and objectives are achieved.

I cannot end this story without mentioning the untiring efforts and unflagging support of the Chief Operating Officer of the NLO, Mr. Olushola Ogunnowo, who approached every suggestion, strategy or idea with great enthusiasm and commitment, and never let any challenge stand in the way of whatever we set out to achieve. Regardless of the setbacks we encountered in our efforts to sell our goals and objectives (and there were many, I tell you), Shola never wavered in his belief that this day would come, and it is to his credit that we went about our business quietly but professionally!

We hope to build on this and reach that target we set for ourselves, so watch out for more announcements from the NLO – The Gateway to the Grassroots Target Market! Thank you all.

Daily Sports celebrates as our tradition to promote excellence, diligence, hard work, sponsorship and sundry that would bring positive development to the game are upheld and lavishly celebrated here. Enter Nkechi Obi. Discussion continues on WhatsApp, Twitter, Face book. Keep shooting hard, till next week.

Source Daily Sports

Posted May 22, 2017


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