PUPPETS IN GLASSHOUSE – Proudly Say: “We Run Football in Nigeria”

 Puppets are exactly what they look like: a bunch of guys who work in Glass house and travel around the world claiming they run football in Nigeria. And you can’t fault that really.

Glass house is the Abuja office and headquarter of Nigeria football Federation (NFF); recognized by FIFA statute to run the business of football in the country. So these guys wear the tag of NFF officials but hardly make any decision on football matters in the country.

First, FIFA insisted that NFF have its own autonomy and be independent of any form of government interference. But NFF hasn’t attained such independence because it doesn’t have the structure and mechanism to operate on its own.

Government fund football in Nigeria and regulates it through ministry of Sports and national sports commission (NSC). Obnoxious law like Decree 101 was put in place, which gives government the right to oversee football affairs and also the activities of NFF.

 Kangaroo Elections
However, in other not to face sanctions, government complies with FIFA statute by allowing NFF to conduct its own elections, but impose candidates that must be voted into the NFF board.

What is wrong with Kangaroo election?  You may ask. Well, government uses it to compensate political loyalists and allies by imposing wrong candidates into NFF board. While professionals and personnel who are experienced in football matters are swept aside, these political appointees grossly mismanage the country’s football business.

Puppets in Glass House
Although, NFF is recognized by FIFA, its officials don’t have authority over football matters in Nigeria. Government officials in the ministry or NSC dictate what happens. Sometimes, government imposes task force to oversee NFF affairs. The fact is NFF officials are mere puppets in glass house.

Rats in Glass House
NFF officials cannot carry out their duties without government funds or grants from FIFA. Although, they do not generate their own funds, they are quick to squander government disbursements.

There’s the issue of accountability. And with the way money and documents miss without trace in NFF office, you can’t but wonder if vicious rats operate in the glass house.

Football League in Nigeria
It’s no different with the league in Nigeria. Most clubs are funded by state governments and those that run Nigeria Professional football league (NPFL), Nigeria National League (NNL) and Nigeria Nationwide League (NNWL) are also political appointees.

When a football loving governor comes into power, the state club begin to enjoy funding and may at that period win lots of laurels. Clubs without such state governor suffer lack of funding and may go under in such period.

It’s an irony really that government is destroying football sport it spends so much to fund. And NFF just sit dorsal waiting for more funds to squander.

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