If you feed a cat at a particular location, it’s always expected that the cat will return to the same place time and time again, but a lawyer will say “how about when the cat is dead”? The answer to the question will vary from the so-called ‘normal’ Nigerian to the so-called ‘spiritual’ Nigerian. This writer believes that a dead cat is a dead cat therefore, the feeding ought to stop. This is relevant to the World Cup of Nations story (past and present) going on right now in Brazil that turn out to be World Cup of ‘Zombies’ for the Africa’s team. This writer will explain in detail below. It doesn’t seem FIFA wants Africa excel.
Fédération Internationale de Football (FIFA)
FIFA is founded in 1904 under Swiss Law. The organization is modeled as a democratic entity with a legislative body (Congress), executive arm (Executive) and administrative secretariat aided by several committees. According to FIFA website, “FIFA’s primary objective is to improve the game of football constantly and promote it globally in the light of its unifying, educational, cultural and humanitarian values, particularly through youth and development programmes”.
Of course an African would like to ask how this primary objective can be met when their local FIFA representative known as football federation are under ‘capture’ by recycled cabal whose goal is to liquidate the treasury of such federation while FIFA seat and wait for the same set of people to organize another election to return them. Unfortunately, this kind of federation election process has led to several assaults, kickbacks, lawsuits and serious ill-wills between those recycled ‘gladiators’. Meanwhile, the Head of FIFA continues to recycle himself as returning leader that is tantamount to life-term position. Surely, if Mr. Blatter enjoys repeated unopposed leadership run and those that returned him are members of their country’s federation leadership, is it out of the ordinary to assume the possibility of collusion somewhere, sometime?
That said, Nigeria and other nations suffered the same faith in the Amos Babatunde Adamu saga of attempted bribery or kickback by an investigative journalist and shouldn’t that be a wake-up call to FIFA that all is not well in Africa. What the whole World witnessed at this year World Cup, where all Africa’s representatives except Algeria and Cote D’Voire were in total disarray due to funds distribution should have commanded an immediate FIFA investigation of those events but to think like that is a sugarcoated illusion. Then this writer ask, if FIFA is facing allegations of corruption in awarding hosting rights and its leader formerly faced similar allegation to which some of his executive team were banned, is it not time to rethink this FIFA and its current leader?
FIFA primary goal is to improve the game of football, but can that be done with only 300 employees on its website? FIFA clearly is clueless about African nations and the environments the talents endured compounded by federation cabal whose aim is to siphon all funds from the participants.
Does FIFA understand that the Nigeria law allows its representative (federation) to commence activities in Nigeria? FIFA is not a supranational entity like the European Union contrary to some writers that suggested Nigeria surrenders its sovereignty and laws, which this writer considers absolute rubbish.
Football Federation in Nigeria
In Nigeria, the federation was formed in 1945 and became part of FIFA in 1960 but since the country has been modifying the federation’s function to meet the National Sports Commission (NSC) goal of full representation or participation in international football. Yes, FIFA marketing geniuses’ of the past have done tremendous job getting the sport to the level it attained in Nigeria and in fact the federal government of Nigeria created multibillion Naira budget for football federation.
However, the endemic problem with the current and past arrangement between the NSC (Nigeria Government) and football federation is that the federation assumed the responsibility of football development and all football related activities for a fee (federal budget) with the knowledge that NSC have a say in the governance of the federation at least to the level of funds received. This is not news to FIFA and in fact several parties made complaints to that body of such arrangement which contravened the national government ‘interference clause’. Even the Nigeria federation congress that brought Mr. Maigari as a leader was not proper and FIFA was noticed and did nothing.
The question then becomes why now is FIFA intervening to uphold such clause with its ban of Nigeria?
Nevertheless, the ban means nothing to average Nigerians where many were saying “FIFA can go to hell”. In fact Nigeria is at least trying to rebrand its image by jettisoning corrupt leadership and upholds an extant court order. Unfortunately, there is no standing legislation that concerns football though multibillion Naira budget for it was an appendage to NSC budget through the Presidency allocations.
Obviously the existing arrangement between the government and football federation is severely faulty because it sounded like FIFA is saying that Nigeria Citizens cannot direct or ask where the taxpayers’ funds were spent. Billions of Naira were budgeted for football by the Federal Government and disbursed to the Maigari and other past football leaders combined, therefore, it is every Nigerian right to ask question about where and when the monies were spent.
On the other hand, Nigeria ought to understand that FIFA cannot develop football in Nigeria, that duty is for NSC and in fact, as this writer proposed, there should now be a department of Sports Development. Under this new regime, football federation will be reduced to presenting the national team. The federation cannot hire Coach or select the team rather they can do what FIFA does, i.e. setting rules and organizing international competition.
As for FIFA ban, Mr. Danagogo must not involve Amos ‘Babatunde’ Adamu or any of his entourage in appealing the ban. All that is needed for the appeal is to (1) document the court matter that the NSC is not a party and (2) to inform FIFA that football federation in Nigeria does more than FIFA intended for a fee due to multibillion Naira arrangements within the federal budget. The sole administrator is necessary to make sure funds are adequately protected.
Dr. Rashid A. Balogun, CPA, LLB(Hons.), LLM(London)