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EDITORIAL: Thumps Up For Aminu Maigari

 By Tajudeen Balogun, Head, Nigeria Bureau

Victorious President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Aminu Maigari is like a proverbial cat with nine lives. Maigari has been in the last three months, enmeshed in a messy and dragged power tussle in the country’s football governing house. In actual fact, the crises if not for resenting interest and ulterior motives of some, were needless and avoidable.

Aminu Maigari

Aminu Maigari

Interestingly, Maigari as if acting another proverbial –  “the signposts of seniority are innate” maxim, from the start of the debacle in July, remained calm, calculative and allowed the situation to unfold till the final scene of the mild drama eventually played out. The man Maigari appeared to understand better the politics than other gladiators, of the football house, both at local and international levels, despite the intimidation, demonstration of overzealousness and brazen display of power obsession against him. .

Recall, he was axed  twice by the NFF executive board and electoral committees respectively; reinstated at the instance of the world football governing body – FIFA, faced NFF headship rivalry with his estranged  Vice President, Mike Umeh, battled with the suspicious arson crime on the sensitive units of the glass house, was sidelined when the supposedly Tuesday August 26 house congress to fix election date, which to the annoyance and surprise of not a few turned election, that produced the controversial NFF President, in person of Chris Giwa.

The above were actually beside his arrest by the security operatives first on July 4, 2014 on arrival from Brazil after the exit of Super Eagles in the last world cup tournament as well as the day the controversial election held. It is important to note here that the election which produced Giwa –led short lived EXCO was attended and witnessed by the Sports Minister, Tammy Danagogo.

Now that the power play is over and rested, there remained some salient issues to be addressed and moral questions to be asked, especially with respect to who are the conspirators, the losers and winners; who deserves knocks as well as commendation and kudos?

The Sports Minister was a neither nor there character in the uproar. He appeared to be passive, but not really. The truth is that his role in the debacle was very confusing, misleading and suspicious. He failed to be honourable a feat his exalted office requires. To drive this home, why remained indifferent when the supremacy war between Maigari and his heady  VP, Umeh lasted? Second, his presence at an election which ought to be a mere congress cast doubt if he ever wished that fairness and justice should  rein in the glass house before now.

Giwa was only a benefactor of the high power play. There is doubt in the fact that he was the anointed candidate of power that be. Recalled, the football veteran, Segun Odegbami, former NFA Scribe, Taiwo Ogunjobi and Umeh were once disqualified from contesting the NFF presidential election, leaving only Giwa for the post. Well, the trio were later given the nod to contest, but the initial suspicious action was like an indelible scar and scaring warning.

Still, Giwa to me, deserves kudos. His decision, on Monday, September 8, 2014  to back out even as the FIFA’s big ax of ban, dangles on Nigeria calls for complimentary remarks. Therefore, hail him for stepping down, only and provided if his decision was not prompted by those who imposed him. But if that is the case, pity him and shame on his ‘godfathers’

Umeh at best may be described as a disloyal subordinate, power drunk and bad loser. He connived with other power brokers in the glass house against his boss; rivaled on the same seat with him and mischievously tarried along with an illegal election exercise, sustained his ambition, contested, but unfortunately  lost to the favoured candidate. Interestingly, the outcome of the  election justified that Umeh himself was only being cajoled by ‘those who’ he thought they belonged to the same camp, otherwise, he would not have contested in the first instance, or better still would have accepted Giwa’s defeat.

Maigari’s VP was the greatest loser. We may ask after the war, where does Umeh belong? Maigari, Giwa or Danagogo’s camp? He is likely to be roaming and remain a lone ranger or one man tactical artillery for the main time, before placing his bearing and reintegrate. Obvious to say here that, it is  good to always stand for truth and justice.

Surely, Miagari is the man of the moment in the glass house, within the circle of football pundits and before the general public. His mien and composure despite the heat and punches during the controversy were quiet impressive and really commendable. Still, one outstanding and very strange dimension of Maigari’s style was deliberate can I say, his refusal to take the fight to the public, by calliing press conference, issuing press statements, organized press interviews to engage the public on hullabaloo or chose to be lousy. His choice of going solo with his supporters was though surprising, yet I feel is deserving  of given an ovation and commendation.

Like I mentioned in my sub piece of Friday, August 22, 2014 titled: ‘The Glass House Power Debacle’, the just ended rumpus in the NFF was a typical of Nigerian brand of treacherous politics. Can Nigerians and the whole world be told what has become of the starting point of the brouhaha – allegation of gross financial misconduct against Maigari? To what extent have the investigations on the allegation and prosecution have gone to have deemed fit all the pressure he was subjected to?

The issue here is far from painting Maigari as a saint. Not at all. Rather, it is about if we are serious as people and keen about transparency and probity, that should be done with a dispatch and with no acrimony as well as delusion. This were the bites not only Nigerian football public were fed with during the wranglings. And it is therefore not unexpected that Nigeria this time like a ‘prodigal son’ ended up being taught the right lesson from out side.

Yet, the politics of rhetoric and stereotypes still remains very much with us. A good example is the widely condemned and untimely drums of support for President Goodluck Jonathan second term in office. In recent times, the various media and instruments were being deployed to take the campaign to the doorsteps of the Nigerians.

Notably among these are the #BringBackJonathan 2015 hash tag signs and banners which until Wednesday dominated the Abuja city. The Wednesday (September 10, 2014)  Presidential removal order of such signs and banners was necessitated the same manner FIFA dealt with Nigeria to stop deceit and double standard. Mr. President’s directive only came after an editorial comment from a foreign United States (US) title:WashingtonPost unequivocally carpeted the cliché which it declared made mockery of a more serious #BringBackOurGirls hash tag, which was carved by the crusaders of free over 200 abducted Chibok secondary school girls, who are still being held hostage in the bush after six months.The Presidency had claimed it had no hand in it, yet, allowed it remain till foreign condemnation came.

Again, there is Tranformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) – a campaign/rallies machinery collecting signatures to endorse President Jonathan’s second tenure. So far, TAN has staged rallies in the South East, West and South of the country. The North central’s is slated for tomorrow, September 13, 2014. This gathering is against the electoral law of the country which does not permit any form of political campaign by this time. It is also against Jonathan’s warning and caution that crowd gathering should be suspended for now as the country is confronted with the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) scourge. The rhetoric from the President’s aides and advisers are that neither he nor the Presidency or Federal government has any link in TAN very flamboyant and expensive outdoor showings.

Nigerians are waiting till that time when another external prompt will come to condemn and demand for a quit to what has been described an affront to the psyche of so many. After all, the country and the world witnessed how the Pakistani teen and child education crusader, Yousafzai Malala and her team impressed it on Mr. President to visit and meet with the families of the kidnapped Chibok girls. Nigerians have clamoured for this earlier, but over politicization stopped the move.

The stereotypes and rhetoric have also trailed last two weeks revelation by the controversial Australian government Boko Haram negotiator, Dr. Stephen Davies. The old cleric who accused former Borno state Governor, Ali Modu – Sheriff and

Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejerika as sponsors of the insurgents’ group has been denied by the Department of States Service (DSS), as its Spokesperson, Marylin Ogar, last weekend labeled him  a “self styled and self acclaimed”.

It is certain that the recent razzmatazz and illegality in the NFF would have remained if not for the external intervention. Meaning, we are people or nation that cannot get or do things right without being put on spot by others. Too bad for a 54 years old sovereign nation like ours.

Over again to the Maigari. This is the time for him as he still savours his hard earned victory to set out for a good job in the  glass house. Aminu Maigari should realize that putting his house in order and doing things right is the expectation of all. Therefore, the election exercise to be conducted by him and his outgoing cabinet should be the one that would be hailed and appreciated by every stakeholder.

Emphatically, the election must be free, fair and very credible. Maigari, if you fail to deliver this desirable assignment, well, be expactant of a huge and virulent rejection and condemnation, not only from Nigeria but from those and the body that influenced your triumph.

Finally, I strongly hold of course with fear of contradiction that the recent hassles in NFF which delayed renewal talks of the Super Eagles Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi’s contract has taken its unpleasant bearing on the performance of the team in their last two matches. Again, Maigari a call on you to get the coming electoral exercise right, so as to rescue the nation’s football and its house;  from the  avoidable hitches and fuhrer embarrassment in the world football governing body and the world in general.

Health Minister, Listen To Others, Not Yourself Alone!

The last Friday Federal government’s backslide on the new resumption date of the nation’s public and private schools has expectedly generated public outcry. This time, not only the parents vow that their wards will not resume on September 22 as announced by the government after initially declaring October 13, but many other stakeholders are joining in the fray. On Thursday, the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has threatened strike if the September date stands. Similarly, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has earlier warned of the dangers in the resumption time, advising that the existing cases of Ebola virus should be completed before the new date is fixed. In fact a section of it  –  the Lagos branch is pushing for December or next year. The House of Representatives Committee on Education is not keeping quiet. Its members have also said they were not comfortable with the date announced by the government, therefore calling for a review and promised to consult its health committee counterpart.

Yet, all of these are still not sensible and reasonable enough for the Health Minister, Professor, Onyebuchi Chukwu who had argued there was no scientific reasons or basis to warrant the fears being allayed by the parents and others. Fine. But if the teachers, the lawmakers and parents are not experts on Ebola and health matters, what about the NMA who share similar position with them? I assume the education Minister is passive on this matter, rather the ‘actor’ is Professor Chukwu who had done  creditably well on EVD outbreak. He is the one responsible for all the rationalization and articulation. Now, it high time the Minister sits back, listened and reasoned with others’ submission. Please Honourable Minister, we are not talking about the lives of cows and chickens, but about the lives of our future generation! Please know that every person and party talking now has the right as well as say, on the current matter and not only.
E – mail:tjaysuccess10@gmail.com; Twitter: @tajudeen balogun


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