As the September 30 date for Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) board elections draw nearer, former president of the Federation, Alhaji Abdullahi Sani Lulu, has appealed to the voting delegates to resist the temptation of voting along religion and regional lines, and elect the right person that has the experience and capacity to turn around the dwindling fortune of Nigeria’s football.
He said Nigeria’s football had witnessed turbulent moments recently and needed someone that is versatile in football politics and administration across the African continent and beyond to restore the glory of the round leather game in the country, and not a regional leader.
Sani Lulu whose tenure as the NFF President witnessed an unprecedented development of grassroots football in the country with the introduction of the U13 and U15 at the national level which brought players like Kelechi Iheanacho and others to national limelight and qualified Nigeria for all FIFA organized competitions, with Brazil being the only other country with such a record, asked the delegates to vote Chief Amanze Uchegbulam who was his 1st vice president as the next president of NFF, saying he will return Nigeria back to the top 10 of global football ranking.
“Our football has witnessed ups and downs and what we need right now is someone with an in-depth knowledge of football politics and administration across the African continent to restore our glory of football.
“When I became NFF president in 2006, one of my cardinal objectives was to ensure that I develop football from the grassroots program and through our project we got the best players for all the national teams and qualified for all the FIFA organized competition, with Brazil being likely the only country with such a record. We were rated 9th among the football playing nations in the world by FIFA.
“I didn’t achieve the feat alone, I worked with people like Chief Amanze Uchegbulam who was my first vice president and Taiwo Ogunjobi. I believe Uchegbulam has the experience and capacity to surpass the record if voted as president of NFF,” Lulu said.
The former FCT director of sports development, who was born in Zaria- Kaduna state where he grew up denounced the agitation by some northern stakeholders, that the next president of NFF after Amaju Pinnick should come from the northern region since the outgoing president is from the south.
He said merit rather than sentiment should guide the delegates in deciding the next president of the NFF. “I succeeded Ibrahim Galadima and after me it was Aminu Maigari, we were all from the north. So, I don’t believe the southerners have overstayed their welcome not to be the next NFF president. Our Country, NIGERIA has the potential to be the best Globally and therefore we should be looking for merit and the best candidate for the job.
“So, my appeal to our distinguished leaders, my friends, the State FA chairmen and other congress members is to search their hearts well and vote for the right person in the person of Chief Amanze Uchegbulam.
“I have been there and my passion is to see our football doing well again,” he said
NYG 2023: FG Charges Participants to compete Fairly In Spirit of Unity
As the 2023 National Youth Games kicks off, the Federal Government has called on participants in the country to ensure they compete fairly in the spirit of Unity of the nation.
The President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu gave the charge today when he declared open the 7th edition of the National Youth Games holding in Asaba, the Delta State Capital.
The President stated that the aim of the games which was conceived in 2013 was to reposition sports at the grassroots level and to facilitate the discovery of budding talents in the country.
Represented by the Honourable Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh, the President stated further that National Youth Games serves as an effective platform for talent identification and development as well as a level playing ground for young athletes to achieve excellence in sports and not necessarily to compete for the purpose of winning medals alone.
He explained that the Games was designed not only to enhance and elevate sports globally and regionally, but also to establish a standard for athletes’ succession from one generation to another and enable for athletes participation in their community development as well as reinvigorate national unity and collaboration amongst them.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu informed that his administration is committed to the development of sports in the country and that was why he specifically created the Ministry of Sports Development and assigned a colossus administrator, Senator John Owan Enoh to drive its affairs, in line with the policy thrust of government.
The aim he added, is to ensure that sports move from mere recreation to job creation, thereby providing opportunities for poverty reduction amongst our youth, both male and female through government’s agenda of inclusiveness thus, improving on the security of our dear nation.
The President who congratulated Delta State Government for hosting the games urged officials and athletes to compete with the spirit of fairness and togetherness, while putting the interest of the nation ahead.
He wished the athletes a fruitful competition.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Executive Governor of Delta State Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori stated that since inception, the National Youth Games has proven to be a cost effective and reliable tool to promote national unity, advance development and peace at both national and sub-national levels.
He observed that if this is effectively harnessed, sports has the power to positively impact on the economic and social wellbeing of any society.
Sports, he noted, *plays a great role in the realization of development and peace, in its promotion of tolerance and respect, and the contributions it makes to the empowerment of women and of young people, individuals and communities, not to mention its health, education and social inclusiveness objectives.
The Governor noted further that the belief of the Deltans on these ideals was unshakeable and that is why he.said,*the Government of Delta State has continued to make its resources available to host national and international sporting competitions
In 2018, he added, the state hosted the African Senior Athletics Championship, and in November 2022, the 21st National Sports Festival.
Gov. Oborevwori reiterated that the Stephen Keshi Stadium has become a venue of choice for hosting national football championships, as Delta is becoming the beehive of sports in Nigeria.
He assured all participants of a peaceful and exciting games as security personnel, protocol officers, traffic management teams, and volunteers are on ground to ensure a peaceful, safe and secure environment for free and fair competition.
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