Friday, September 04, 2015

FIFA Presidency: Stop embarrassing us, Nigerians in CAF/FIFA tell Kalu, Odegbami

The positions of Chief Amanze Uchegbulam, Paul
Bassey and Sani Toro left a sour taste to their
ambitions after they, in separate interviews warned
the duo to ''stop embarrassing Nigeria''.
Former Abia State Governor, Dr Kalu was the first to
hint of joining the fray to succeed outgoing Joseph
Sepp Blatter before Odegbami, former captain of the
Eagles, businessman joined the queue.

Former Vice President of the Nigeria Football
Federation and member of CAF's Judicial and Board
of Appeals Committee, Amanze Uchegbulam said that
he had nothing against Kalu and Odegbami's
entrance into the FIFA presidency race but frowned
that it was being done the wrong way.

''There is nothing wrong with their ambitions but they
are doing it the wrong way and embarrassing
Nigeria'', he said as a matter of fact.
''Nigeria has very knowledgeable people in CAF and
FIFA and one expects that such people should have
been consulted for a high profile position in a place
they are holding positions. They did not and what we
get is outsiders asking us if we knew about their
ambitions. There are procedures for doing things
and there are statutes to be followed. FIFA is an
organised body.

It is not a political party where people jump into at
any time. President of CAF, Issa Hayatou is the
number two man in FIFA and he is in charge of
Africa. Consultation for things like these are first
done underground with the knowledge of all relevant
people and organisations. It is not something you
jump to the Press first and the people are getting to
know about your ambitions through the Press. We
(Nigerians) holding positions in CAF or FIFA have
been inundated with calls and the whole thing is an

They know that we know and expect us to guide our
people. But you can only help one who seeks help",
Uchegbulam said. The former first Vice President of
the NFF also lashed out at their ambitions saying that
it might be beyond Presidency of FIFA. ''It's possible
that they are in the race for ulterior motives. I say
this because it is a bridge too far for them''.

He was not alone.

Veteran Sports Journalist and CAF and FIFA Media
Committee member, Paul Bassey was miffed when
he talked about the entrance of the Nigerians into the
FIFA number one position.

"It is sad indeed that our people overlook us on a
subject that we can be of help to guide and to direct
them appropriately. ''Even if they don't like our
persons, they should have asked us because of our
positions and knowledge. I totally agree with
Uchegbulam that they are embarrassing Nigeria. Not
only that, they are also trivializing the whole thing'',
Bassey, a sports columnist of high repute noted.
Former House of Representatives member and
former Secretary General of the Nigeria Football
Association and former Sports Commissioner of
Bauchi State, Alhaji Sani Ahmed Toro laughed off the
ambitions of the Nigerians urging them not to
''ridicule this country''.

''They want to test their popularity and it goes beyond
that. The rules are simple. I bet you that they won't
even cross the hurdle in Nigeria. It is not even
possible for Pinnick to endorse them not to talk of
CAF'', Toro said. "They will not because there are
rules and guidelines they do not meet."
In addition to his submissions, Toro cited Article 24
of FIFA Statutes, Articles 12 to 14 of the Electoral
Regulations for the FIFA Presidency which was
specific; ''The eligibility of candidates for the office of
FIFA Presidency shall have been proposed by a
member association(Nigeria Football Federation) and
present declarations of support from at least five(5)
member associations ie 5 other Countries. Each
member association may only present a declaration
of support for one person. If a member association
presents support for more than one person, all its
declarations shall be become invalid When contacted, Chief Segun Odegbami whose entrance brought joy to many Nigerians in football circles wondered why Nigerians love to bring down their fellow Nigerians instead of looking positively.

"Yes, I did not consult them but I have intentions of
meeting up with almost all relevant persons. It is not
something you can do in one day. People should not
see this project as a Segun Odegbami thing. No, it is
not. It is not a do or die affair but one of participating
well. I am in this because I have what it takes to offer
to the World and to the beautiful game of football'',
he said.

Other contenders include Michel Platini, the French
president of European federation UEFA, South
Korean Chung Mong-joon, a former Asian vice-
president of FIFA as well as the old Brazilian World
Cup star Zico and former Trinidad and Tobago
international David Nakhid. The South African
businessman Tokyo Sexwale is also considering a
AbleMoJah® Nigeria.

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