SPECTATOR: The Story Of Football Leaders And Followers

SPECTATOR: The Story Of Football Leaders  And Followers
SPECTATOR: The Story Of Football Leaders And Followers


Football in Nigeria has been managed by many Administrators, expatriates and Nigerians, Military and Civilians, Technocrats, Public Servants, Business Men, Politicians and others. Let me cast our minds back to the past and travel with us to the present.

England Pa Mulford (1945–1947)
(England) Pius Quist(Anthony) (1947–1948)
(England) D.H. Holley (1949–1950)
England P. Harvey (1951–1953)
(England) N. Miller (1954–1956)
(England) Dennis J. Slattery (1957–1958)
(England) R.B. Allen (1959–1960)
(Nigeria) Godfrey Amachree (1960–1961)
(Nigeria) F.A.S. Ogunmuyiwa (1961–1962)
(Nigeria) Louis Edet May (1962–1963)
(Nigeria) M.S. Adawale(Acting) (1963–1963)
(Nigeria) A.B. Osula (Acting) (1963–1963)
(Nigeria) Francis Giwa-Osagie (1964–1964)
(Nigeria) Ishola Bajulaiye (1965–1965)
(Nigeria) Chuba Ikpeazu (1965–1967)
(Nigeria) Godfrey Amachree (1967–1970)
(Nigeria) Kevin Lawson(Col.) (1971–1971)
(Nigeria) Edwin Kentebbe(Comdr.) (1971–1972)
(Nigeria) Ademola Adeoba(Acting) (1972–1972)
(Nigeria) Emmanuel Sotomi(Brig.) (1973–1973)
(Nigeria) Sunday Dankaro (1974–1980)
(Nigeria) Mike Okwechime(Col.) (1981 – May 1982)
(Nigeria) Edwin Kentebbe(Comdr.) 1982–1983
(Nigeria) Tony Ikazoboh (1983–1987)
(Nigeria) John Obakpolor (1987–1988)
(Nigeria) Chuba Ikpeazu (1988–1989)
(Nigeria) Efiom Okon (Interim) (1989)
(Nigeria) Tony Ikazoboh (1989)
(Nigeria) Yusuf Ali (1990–1991)
(Nigeria) Efiom Okon (1991–1992)
(Nigeria) Amos Adamu (1992–1993)
(Nigeria) Emeka Omeruah (1993–1997)
(Nigeria) Abdulmumini Aminu (1997–1999)
(Nigeria) Kojo Williams (1999)
(Nigeria) Dominic Oneya (1999–2002)
(Nigeria) Ibrahim Galadima (2002–2006)
(Nigeria) Sani Lulu Abdullahi (2006–2010)
(Nigeria) Aminu Maigari (2010–2014)
(Nigeria) Amaju Pinnick (2014‒2022)
(Nigeria) Ibrahim M. Gusau (2022‒)

Thanks to Wikipedia for obliging me the information about our past and present Football Leaders in Nigeria. What is your evaluation of Football in Nigeria from 1945 to 2023? I believe I will get diverse opinions from the verse stakeholders of the beautiful game. I know their were good and bad moments. I remember Atlanta 1996. Nigeria won the Olympics Gold Medal in Football. History was made. It was ecstasy all over. Excitement was in the air. I saw a particular young man that went to the wall of a building and like a ram, he rammed into the wall times without number. I had to resort to begging him to stop that celebration because of the obvious consequences. I guess we also remember the last straw that broke the camel's back at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium when the Super Eagles were prevented by the Black Stars of Ghana from going to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. It was a sad moment for Nigerians because their hope was dashed. Before the match, I saw football loving Nigerians in their great numbers moving with excitement into the Stadium. The Nigerian National Anthem was loudly chorused by people in the capacity filled stadium. The end of the story is that Nigerians saw a disorganized Super Eagles who because of their lacklustre approach to the game could not get the World Cup ticket.

The blame game started as usual and it persists up till today. Football followers in Nigeria are not relenting. It is expected that no one rewards you when you fail to win a game. On rare cases, there could be a reward if the team played well but were unlucky to emerge victorious. Each time the Super Eagles fall short of our expectations, the culprits are Coaches and Players. The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) leadership get their own bashing also. The Nigeria Football situation is indeed tasking. You must be a strong person to administer football in Nigeria. Football runs in a vicious circle. Sometimes, its like the more you look, the less you see. As the Chief Spectator of Football in Nigeria, I perceive a few people with their connections in government dictating what happens in Football. This group are in the leadership or are at the sideline waiting for opportunity to step into the mainstream. The leadership extends to the 36 States and FCT. This is the group that lays the golden egg. They determine who emerges as our Football Leaders at the National level. They fit in as leaders and first line followers also. There are also similar followership at the State level. The Congress made up of the powerful block of the State Football Associations and other statutory members are followers also. There is hardly any other group of followers. The rest are either praise singers or wailers. No matter what your manifesto may look like, your success is tied to your followership. You must be politically strong. You must be financially buoyant. I am therefore surprised that though not as financially strong as other contestants, Ibrahim Musa Gusau was able to navigate his way to the top position. I think there is the need to carry out a study on this feat so that it may become a template for our leadership recruitment in Football in Nigeria. Maybe in the near future, we will realize tremendous growth in Football in Nigeria by a deliberate departure from what has been the practice for some years.

I tend to agree with a friend who recently told me that their followers he prefers to call "Stadium Rodents". We know the nuisance value of rodents. They eat up our food at home and damage the rest. Think of what rats are capable of doing in your home. Yes, at a point in time former President Muhammadu Buhari vacated the Presidential Villa so that the rodents can be cleared. The metaphorical rodents in the Stadium, I guess are those who wait for certain financial and other benefits in football such as attending Annual General Assembly (AGA), have their slots for the various World Cup, serve as match commissioners for good domestic and international games, without seeing positive contributions at their own levels. We subject our Leaders to spend much money and when they begin to recover what the "rodents" have eaten, we complain.

I am therefore looking forward to a situation where followers will spend money to install our Football Leaders at all levels. When this becomes a reality, it will be good for the accelerated growth of Football. When that time comes, the real followers who are for now either wailers or praise singer will have a voice that is audible and potent enough to move any leader to positive action. I can see a bit of it in Ibrahim Musa Gusau leadership.
Our Football needs good leadership and good followership. Please, don't be a "rodent", be a good follower.
I am Spectator.

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