My name is Adewale Ajayi calling from a quiet city, north of the Atlantic in Canada.
Hope you remember me? I am your friend of many years, one journalist you have used for a thousand hatchet jobs and the young man at the forefront of your third term campaign.
I hope you still remember me? If you don’t, let me remind you further. We had a sustained misunderstanding that lasted for more than two years and just last year, we agreed to work together for the good of the game.
However, after that unfortunate defeat to Ghana that halted our world cup dream, I called you and advised that we jettison the third term ambition, focus on developing the game at all levels and work towards anointing a responsible and acceptable successor.
It didn’t end there, you went on National television to officially tell the world that you are no longer pursuing a third term dream, rather you will want to end your second term on a high.
That being the case, I am surprised, confused and disturbed by comments from your friends and close associates that you are still scheming to return. As much as i don’t want to believe what I am hearing, your body language is not proving otherwise and events of the last few days have shown that there is more to this, than meets the eyes.
Like in the past, a few journalists, loyal to your third term cause, thesame men who have joined me to attack and insult previous sports ministers are again at the forefront of this fresh media madness. We have been on this route before, we have exchanged notes, mapped out strategies and worked out modus of operation. And together, we have celebrated victory.
Against Tamuno Danagogo and his cohorts, we came out fighting like wounded lions, we wrestled against principalities and powers in high places, we tore them to pieces and offered their bodies to the dogs. They left brutally shattered after years of torment and ridicule.
Against Solomon Dalung, the strategy changed. We employed more soldiers of war, we littered social media with unpalatable writeups and fought him with pants down until the very end.
At that time, we worked with some of the most intelligent football administrators who understood the game and were united in the struggle. Among them was a certain Musa Amadu, who as General Secretary of the NFF then, refused to bulge even with a gun to his head. Musa fought gallantly to repel the invaders. He was bundled from one DSS office to the other, he refused to accept bribe running into millions of dollars from the opposition but at the end, he was sacrificed and evicted from the glasshouse for disobeying orders from above. Let me stop here, as that is a story for another day.
Like Musa, Christopher Green, Tunde Aderibigbe and a few others loyal to the cause, have all been ridiculed, rejected or rendered redundant either by fate or by coincidence.
As much as many held on to their grievances, the congress was united. The reason behind the unity at that time is because, for once, everyone saw the need to fight the enemy. The enemy then was the opposition group who refused to let go a mandate they claimed was given to them by some unidentified FA chairmen at the August 26, 2014 Election in Chida.
The congress never wanted to create any loophole for these invaders to take over power and that was the only reason why you returned as NFF president on September 30, 2018 for a record second term in office.
Let me also remind you sir, that Aminu Maigari, the former NFF president whom you defeated in Katsina, was on the threshold of making a triumphant return until he infamously appeared in a Jos Federal high Court to stand in as witness in a case involving the percieved enemies of Nigeria football and the NFF led by you.
That singular decision all but quashed the dream, as Aminu never recovered from the backlash from kinsmen who felt betrayed by his action.
That was when we had a united congress and a united board. Can you remember that in 2014, even when the sport ministry under Tamuno Danagogo made it known to the board that the federal government has anointed a new person as NFF president and wanted Aminu Maigari impeached, the board struggled to get it done because in the midst of the crisis and the confusions, members were united. Although a few later manufactured some fake signatures to get Maigari impeached, FIFA in their wisdom immediately reinstated the Bauchi state born football administrator, insisting that the process leading to his impeachment was faulty and unconstitutional.
Fast forward to 2022 and take a second look at the presidential order as read out by Nigeria sports minister, Sunday Dare. You will notice that at the tail end of that release, he ended my saying, that all decisions taken must be done in accordance with the NFF status. It shows that he didn’t just wake up to orchestrate or manufacture that press release. It was well planned, carefully rehearsed and professionally done.
The present sport minister is not one man who takes rash decisions. He is well grounded in international sports politics and is surrounded by men who understand the game deeply.
In putting forward a team to draw up the football master plan, Dare took time to test the waters, he made wide consultations and selected some of the best brains in the sector. He understands the implication of making mistakes especially in football matters and has done no wrong in insisting that the NFF president set in motion modalities on how to set aside the court order restraining the congress of the NFF from calling an annual General assembly that will immediately fix a date for an elective congress in September or any other date as agreed by congress.
If it was before, in the days of old, when the congress was still very united, when members of the executive committee were on thesame page, many would have joined this sponsored attack on the minister.
Unfortunately, the case this time is different. Totally different.
As at the last count, the opposition has infiltrated the board and three board members have pledged their loyalty to the Aminu Kurfi led group.
Aminu Kurfi is no small name in Nigeria football. He singlehandedly fought the invaders and insisted that the NFF Election of 2018 in Katsina must go ahead even when there was a late court order stopping the process.
He is a very powerful APC politician from the state of Mr President and has very close ties with the Emir of Daura, thesame man that the NFF assured that they will bring a FIFA goal project to his domain as a way to say thank you after two lavish pre and post Election parties. That promise has not been fulfilled till date.
The fact that Balele, a man whose love and loyalty to Amaju was never in doubt has today turned around to form an alliance with over 20 other FA chairmen paints a picture of what is ahead.
The deadline given by the opposition FA chairmen to the NFF president to call for an annual General assembly expired on Tuesday July 12 and with. It comes fresh expectations as a thick cloud continue to hover around Nigeria football.
Methinks, that the best strategy for you Mr Amaju my dear friend is not to make more enemies. This is a time to seek audience with the homourable sports minister and outline your plans. If you must know, Dare has no candidate and has no political game plan. He is only playing the fatherly role, trying to guide and guard the board on how to do things, not what to do.
For those claiming that his press release comes with a pinch of interference, they know absolutely nothing. As much as he ended by advising that everything must be done in conformity with the NFF status, he has shown that he respects the status and understands the plot perfectly.
What I think Mr Amaju should bother his head about for now is how to identify the real enemies and mend fences with them. Dare is the least of your problems. The bigger problem is ahead.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed
Thanks for reading, have a blessed day.
From your friend