Mr. Jonathan, No, You can’t suspend Nigerian Football!

Adeola Aderounmu

Is Goodluck Jonathan A Dictator in the Making?

There are reports that Goodluck Jonathan has suspended the Nigerian Football Team from participating in future competitions for the next 2 years. According to him this will allow Nigeria to reorganise her football.

Sometimes I wonder if Nigerian politicians are from planet earth. Does Mr. Jonathan know FIFA rules concerning football? Do we have advisers in Abuja? Does Nigeria have a Ministry of Sports that Jonathan can consult for information and knowledge about football?

You cannot suspend your team from International competition. If you do, FIFA will help you by extending the suspension for another 2 or 4 years.

Nigeria does not need to suspend her national team from International competition to be able to do things the right way. Common sense shows that that is a negative approach.

There are ignorant people running football in Nigeria and we have said it many times without number: let those who know about football run our football. Let seasoned administrators and tested hands handle our sports. There are trained sports administrators in Nigeria. Look for them.

And when it concerned football look for our ex-internationals at home and abroad. They can do things right. Bring back Stephen Keshi, call on Oliseh among many others. The list is endless!

Segun Odegbami has been in this field for decades. Look for him and people like him scattered across Nigeria. Let those who know football run our football.

Mr Jonathan does not need to suspend the National Team. That is bad judgement and an indication of dictatorial tendencies. We are supposed to be under civilian rule, not tyranny or military rule. You can’t wake up from a bad dream and say the National team is dissolved.

Please get this right. There are thousands of football talents in Nigeria who can take our country to greater heights. Catch them young and play them with their real ages!

I think the most important thing is to eliminate politics from our sports. Until then, we are only chasing shadows like Mr Jonathan is doing now.

On the other hand, rather than using such a strong hand on our football, Mr. Jonathan should use his strong hand and will to bring prosperity to Nigeria. I don’t think football is our problem.

Corruption is eating Nigerian deep, ever since 1960 anyway. If you are such a principled man, please leave the footballers alone and go after your likes-politicians who are looting and carrying away our national wealth.

Over 70% of Nigerians are living below the poverty level, please divert your energy away from the footballers and think of how you can reduce the percentage of Nigerians living under acceptable conditions of human existence.

There are loads of problems facing us in Nigeria. Football is the least of them. Go to Jos and live among the people for 1 weeks, try to understand their rotten mentalities and why they continue to kill one another.

Go to Borno and see the basis for the emergence of Boko Haram.

From East to West, from North to South, please go around and see what you can do to bring better the good life of the 50s and 60s. This country is dying, leave the footballers alone and focus on how to create employment opportunities, how to build good roads, how to make water flow into our homes and our to ensure that my children get quality education.

Above all, suspend that 10 billion naira that you are about to waste on a common party! Divert the fund into procurement of cancer testing machines for Nigerian decaying hospitals. Save a life today Mr Jonathan. The children are crying!

Related Story on BBC Africa SportsNigeria facing explusion from Fifa

4 thoughts on “Mr. Jonathan, No, You can’t suspend Nigerian Football!

  1. When I first learned about the Nigeria’s decision, I thought it was rushed and stupid. But after thinking about it, I came to the realization that Nigerian soccer is on a downward spiral and needs drastic changes to reverse the current trend. While government spends money hosting and preparing for tournaments, there is no accountability for failures. Soccer administrators are protected by FIFA statue so even though government spends money, they cannot hold them accountable. In Nigeria, the soccer body does not generate enough money to even pay the coaches salaries, they depend on public funds. The same people have been running Nigeria soccer administration for years now without good results. They rigged elections to stay in office.

    While we can disagree on whether Nigerian administrators should be held accountable for their results in South Africa, everyone agrees that preparations for it were lackluster and hampered by inadequate planning.

    Nigeria hired a new coach in March and immediately announced a camp in London with friendly matches. But the world cup camp in London was later cancelled and only one friendly match went hitched-free. The North Korea match had poor organization, fights broke out because of tickets and people got injured. The Paraguay and Ukraine matches were cancelled. The Colombia match was played in an empty stadium after two venue cancellations. A meaningless match was played in Nigeria against a weak African country (DR Congo). Only the match with Saudi Arabia went okay even though a lot of their star players did not participate. They also had issues with hotel accommodation and experienced problems with the chartered flight taking them from European base to South Africa for the tournament. They have been several unverified allegations of players paying to play and coaches paying to coach. The funny thing is that these same issues happened during preparations for South Korea in 2002.

    The question is how do you address these issues when the sport administrator points fingers at the players and coaches when they failed to deliver? The simple solution would be to conduct a free and fair election and vote the right people in, but that would NEVER happen in Nigeria. Please don’t ask me about fixing election issues in Nigeria. The second solution would be for the Nigerian soccer federation head to resign (the French administrator resigned in South Africa after their debacle) but that would not happen either. That’s probably why the president did what he did. I don’t like the decision to ban Nigeria from competitions, but I do understand the president’s dilemma. I hope they can fix their local football league while they are at it so that they can stop relying on foreign players in European leagues for success. I also hope FIFA doesn’t band them indefinitely but I do see a need for them to fix their house.


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  4. I have to agree with Joseph E. There is an obvious problem with soccer in Nigeria. The NFF as they currently stand are unwilling and incapable of self-reform, because it is against their own narrow and selfish interests. Since we don’t want the eagles to perform as poorly as they did in South Africa in 2010, a change has to be made. How can this be brought about?

    Even though I am very much against government interference, there is no other solution. Mr Lulu and his associates in the NFF have no integrity or honour, they will stay and run football in Nigeria into the ditch, if allowed. They can’t even use the excuse that Nigeria was in a tougher group this time when compared to previous outings. This time the eagles played the same teams and obtained worse results. It shows that other nations have improved and/ or we have fallen behind.

    You saw the head (Jean-Pierre Escalettes) of the French football federation (FFF) quit. Joseph E, said that the NFF are not capable of holding fair elections to appoint new members (in keeping with the rest of Nigeria). So given these basic facts

    * Lulu and co refusing to quit
    * No fair election will be held

    The president stepping in to break the impasse, seems logical. This should not set a precedent. Once this action has been taken, this should be fully exploited, to lay the foundation for an independent body, that is capable of meaningful, transparent self-regulation, that is run by competent and capable administrators.

    This does beg the question why is it Nigerians more often than not mismanage assets? Ghana’s football team has improved in leaps and bounds since their last world cup outing back in 2006. For Nigeria the reverse is the case, we are now hearing stories of family members bribing the coach so that one of their number can be in the team. This idea of bribery and underhand dealings as opposed to rewarding genuine talent and hard work, that has taken root in Nigeria is a recipe for self destruction and destruction.
    You only have to look at Germany, how they are excelling, they didn’t do this through bribes, political correctness and appointing unsatisfactory administrators. They were pro-active, far sighted, meticulous, rigorous, organised and professional, that is how they have emerged with a football team they can be proud of. Some may say Germany is a developed country and is many centuries ahead of Nigeria in all positive aspects of human development. For argument’s sake, Ghana is a country that is very similar to Nigeria, but you have seen that Ghanaians have now learned to unite, and harness their collective energies to strive towards greatness and are leaving us (their brothers), behind in the dust, squabbling amongst ourselves about trivial and irrelevant issues like should the president be from the north or south, and whether Nigeria is a secular state or not.

    We should not be envious of Ghana, their success on the football field and elsewhere, is well deserved (I congratulate them on their achievements). Instead, we should draw useful lessons, be humble and learn from the positive example they are setting and strive to get our house in order as soon as possible. On the football field and elsewhere.


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