Friday, October 3, 2014

Minister Danagogo played the Fiddle While Nigerian Football was Burning. . ..

Nigeria's Minister of Sport,  Dr. Tammy Wenike Danagogo, became the central focus as Nigerian football was torn apart from inside-out. The former demolition man as Rivers State Commissioner for Urban Development and Physical Planning appears to be out of his depth as Nigeria's Minister of Sport. He clearly was on a mission but the question is who's mission? It certainly did not appear to be a mission in the interest of Nigeria's football.

Dr. Danagogo appeared either (1) a naive zealot receiving very poor advice, or (2) cunning or conning Minister. It is unclear whether it was (1) or (2), but it appeared that his activities were at the cost of Nigerian football's health. Let's examine how he has helped set Nigeria's football on fire and then went into "Pilate-ism" while attempting to play the fiddle while the fire raged.

Naive Zealot
Let's for one moment assume that Dr. Danagogo was indeed focused on setting Nigeria's football on the right path. Assume he was truly enraged about rampant corruption and inefficiencies of Nigerian football management and was determined to reform it. It is a heck of an assumption but let's oblige.

Yes, he acted swiftly by appointing a sole administrator for Nigeria's football following a Jos Court order. He was merely obeying the law of the land. After all, he is a lawyer and he ought to know, right?

Yet, if he was so well informed, how did he forget that FIFA's rules govern all its affiliates and that FIFA's Nigerian affiliate has statutes that clearly outline how to remove the top administrator for Nigeria's football? He was forced later by FIFA to scamper and follow the same statute that he ignored. This was after he assured Nigerians that he knew FIFA's rules and was not violating those rules.

Weeks later, after agreeing to reinstate the NFF President, he again insisted on an NFF board election on August 26 despite FIFA's acceptance of a postponement based on recommendation from the NFF board. Minister Danagogo's Gestapo-sanctioned tactics then culminated in a sham August 26 election that hoisted his friend (Giwa) to power and the Minister quickly hosted his friend in a macabre "victory" reception amid consternation among stakeholders of Nigerian football including the local football league, the referee association, guild of editors, and other voices of Nigerian football. Then the same tactics were used to ensure that one of the contestants -- Shehu Dikko -- could not be at the election on September 30.

Cunning or Conning
Maybe he is cunning or is it conning? (LOL).  What do you make of the fact that he ditched NFF Vice President Umeh by the way side after Umeh was conned into believing that he (Umeh) was the anointed one to replace Maigari. Next was Chris Giwa. At least, Giwa made it to the "NFF Presidency" after a sham election. But as FIFA prowled, Danagogo was no longer sure that Giwa would be the man and as Giwa refused to step down from the NFF Presidency, the EFCC men came around on a shakedown of Mr. Giwa. EFCC's effort was clearly to scare Giwa into stepping down to appease FIFA as Danagogo continued to fiddle for answers. Just may be, he will come up with another fall guy. Who's next in line?

As Nigeria's Football Burns Under Danagogo's Watch. . . .
Clearly, Nigeria's football is burning. Yet, Minister Danagogo pretends that he is the "peace maker" convincing no one of his neutrality. Instead, he is like an Ostritch hiding its head in the sand. Reality is that Minister Danagogo's role is clear for all to see and it is not pretty. His act is no more than Emperor Nero as Rome burned. Sure, Minister Danagogo has held Nigeria to ransom while still maintaining his Ministerial position but it is clear that his act is wearing thin. He has taken Nigerian football to the brink and history will certainly record this for posterity. He has time to begin to right his many wrongs and allow football administration to run as independently as possible. If he is a true zealot for accountability as he has severally claimed, then there are clearly acceptable strategies for bringing financial violators to book without destroying Nigeria's football along the way. It starts from his ability and commitment to understand Nigeria's football statutes and its relationship to FIFA and then seeking reform within those parameters.

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