Home » Opinion » SPECTATOR : Football Local Councils Election In Nigeria. Part 2

SPECTATOR : Football Local Councils Election In Nigeria. Part 2

The leadership of Football at the continental level, that is, CAF, UEFA, OCEANIA, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and ASIA also emerge democratically through federating bodies of member Nations. It is also interesting to note that each country’s Football Federation or Association as it may apply hold elections for its leadership to emerge. This is also done by affiliate States and groups such as the Nigeria Football Coaches Association, Nigeria Referees Association, Players Union and the Leagues. Please, note that I am using Nigeria as a reference point. Yes, Nigeria Football stakeholders through the Congress holds its elections every four years. In most cases, the election of members of the Board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) pass through very challenging times during its elections. Glad to say that the election that ushered in the current leadership of the NFF was relatively peaceful. Indeed it produced a leadership that has so far demonstrated capacity in the daily running of affairs of Football in Nigeria.
The leadership of Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau is being commended by the Football stakeholders. A lot of things are still begging for attention. I have the confidence that the current Board of the NFF will emerge with a good score card at the end of their tenure.

I guess you know that I am talking about the emergence of the leadership of Football leaders at the various levels. While I have commended the emergence of the Board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), I will not be able to commend what obtains at the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). However, I can vouch for the FCT that elections have been held as at when due. I am not however giving the FCT the full marks. This is to say there is room for improvement. I don’t have the details of elections in all the States of Nigeria but I am aware that what has been happening in some States Football elections is a mere selection process reserved for its sit tight leadership. No wonder, some Chairmen of some States Football Associations have been in office for over a period of twenty (20) years. Some of them have no tangible or visible achievement. They are indeed occupants of such offices for their selfish motives. Let me not forget elections at the grassroots level. I am talking about the Local Government Areas where we have local football councils. There are 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria. How many of them have functional Football Councils that emerged through democratic process? This level of the Football structure is so important but unfortunately it is the most neglected. Apart from the Federal Capital Territory and a few States, the Local Football Councils are as a matter of fact weak, unproductive and not functional. It is however gladdening to note that a number of States are holding their Local Councils elections. It is a good step. I was told that it was a directive from NFF that States should constitute their Council’s leadership through elections. While this is a good development, I am worried about the conduct of the elections. I am disturbed that some State Chairmen may end up installing surrogates as leaders of the Football Councils. If it goes that way, the plan to re-invigorate football at the grassroots level may be far from being realized. Some States Football structures needs to be dismantled deliberately to put an end to the emperor-like football leadership in such States and genuinely install a new structure through a democratic process.

I am saying this because a lot of people have gate-crashed into football management. They have no passion for the game. They see football as opportunity for economic and political self development rather than maximizing the opportunities in football for individual, collective and national development. I suggest that there shouldn’t be close supervision of Local Councils Football elections so as to ensure that the conduct of the elections are done in line with prescribed minimum standards.
The Nigeria Football Federation must attach the importance and attention the Local Councils elections deserve. This indeed is the foundation for sustainable football development in Nigeria.
I hope somebody is hearing me.

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