Segun-Odegbami

FIFA Presidency: Odegbami Rejects NFF Conditions

—Refuses To "Hobnob" With Corrupt Elements

Aspiring FIFA presidential candidate Chief Olusegun Odegbami has flatly rejected the Nigeria Football Federation directive that would-be Nigerian candidates for the FIFA top job must obtain an initial endorsement from the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
In a very strongly worded letter of protest addressed to NFF President Amaju Pinnick, Odegbami slammed the NFF for creating "obstacles" to his candidature rather than proudly facilitating the process of his application as a Nigerian.
Odegbami reminded the NFF that the upcoming FIFA elections are centred around ridding the world body of corruption and he would not be seen "hobnobbing" with any corrupt individual or establishment so that his chances at the elections will not be compromised.
The former national team captain then advised the NFF to withdraw its "unconstitutional requirements" and nominate a credible Nigerian for the FIFA Presidential elections urgently.
Below is the full content of the explosive letter…

12th September, 2015
Mr. Pinnick Amaju
The President,
Nigeria Football Federation,
Glass House,
Abuja, FCT.

Dear Mr. Pinnick Amaju,

A protest against the decisions of the Nigeria Football Federation [NFF] regarding my request for nomination to contest for the position of President of FIFA

 

This is to formally register my protest against the demands made of me [and indeed any other Nigerian contestant] by the Nigeria Football Federation [NFF], as conditions, in order to be nominated to contest for the position of President of FIFA.

This is also to suggest that the NFF should immediately withdraw these demands and that the NFF should quickly decide on the Nigerian to nominate to contest the FIFA Presidential elections in February 2016.

I refer to my letter of August 26, 2015, addressed to you, in which I humbly requested for nomination by the NFF to enable me contest for the vacant position of President of FIFA in the elections coming up on February 26, 2016. Whilst awaiting a formal response from you, it was with utter disbelief and shock to read of the conditions [more of barriers] on a television programme that the NFF has set for Nigerian candidates.

I wish to remind you that long before I publicly announced my intention to contest for the election, I met with you to intimate you of my aspiration and intent. You had proposed then that I met with Dr. Amos Adamu [former member of the Confederation of African Football [CAF] Executive Committee] and Mr. Issa Hayatou – the CAF President. At this meeting, I reminded you that the FIFA elections became necessary as a result of corruption charges against members of the current FIFA Executive Committee, and that both gentlemen that you suggested I meet have been an integral part of the FIFA establishment, and that engaging them at the initial stages may not be a good idea, particularly as I aim to align part of my campaign strategy and key messages alongside the change mantra and anti-corruption stance of the present Nigerian Government under President Muhammadu Buhari. In my view, to achieve this, I stand a good chance if I distance myself from the present FIFA members.

I also told you that my good chance of winning the elections would be to present my works and records in football and football administration, as well as my good conduct and character throughout the decades of my involvement and engagement with the sport at various levels – local, national and international – and not by hobnobbing with the establishment.

As part of your response to me, you mentioned the interest of another Nigerian – Orji Uzor Kalu – even though you also said, at this meeting, that he had not officially notified the NFF of his intention. You also promised to seek the opinion of a few of your friends, fellow national Federation presidents in Africa, as well as your Executive Committee members, and revert back to me quickly, noting that time is of essence in this quest.

I informed you also that I had already sent my official notification letter to the NFF and that I would be expecting a response.

On September 2, 2015, after extensive consultations with some stakeholders that could assist and support my aspiration, I publicly made my intentions known to the world.

Of course, I expected that the NFF would conduct its own integrity and eligibility tests and decide which of the Nigerians that have applied for nomination to the NFF, to be offered the only nomination spot.

However, I was perturbed and shocked to see you, the NFF president, reveal on a television programme – Sports This Morning – on Channels Television, on Monday September 14, 2015, that the NFF Executive committee had met and decided that Nigerians interested in contesting for the position of FIFA president should secure the following endorsements in order to be nominated;
1. Endorsement of their State Football Association
2. Endorsement of the National Sports Commission [NSC] – the government agency that supervises all sports in Nigeria
3. Endorsement of the Confederation of African Football [CAF].

I find the last two of these requests very bizarre, and a product of lack of familiarity with the guidelines for the FIFA presidential elections. In my view, it reeks of and it is a reflection of insensitivity to the prevailing situation around global football that currently faces integrity issues. It further appears to be a calculated attempt to pursue an entirely private agenda at the expense of national benefits cum interests.

Permit me to assure you that I have studied the eligibility rules and criteria for contesting for the position, as clearly stated in the well-publicised Electoral Guidelines and FIFA statutes, before presenting myself as a candidate. Only individuals contest for the FIFA presidency, not national federations or representatives of confederations, even though the individual federations are the electorate that would elect the president. Therefore, whatever the motivation behind or driving the NFF demands, the decisions by your Executive Committee are not in line with the requirements set by FIFA to contest the elections. This therefore, raises some pertinent issues/questions;
a. CAF, as a body, is not part of the election process – why make them a condition [and more of a barrier] to the process?
b. Why would my country’s federation send me on a wild goose chase to secure the endorsement of a continental federation that I have no relationship with before I can be nominated, if there is no hidden agendum somewhere?
c. Apart from not having a direct relationship with CAF, which as a confederation has nothing to do with the FIFA elections, I wonder why I would need the endorsement of the organization since I am not representing it at the elections?
d. I need to remind you that CAF and FIFA do not deal with individuals, or governments in their internal affairs, but with national associations that must be independent and be seen to act without the influence of all external forces at all times. Why decide to send me, an individual, to CAF and to a government agency to seek endorsement?
e. Why demand that I get endorsement of CAF headed by one of the FIFA Vice-presidents, who may be an integral part of the on-going investigations by the US and Swiss authorities?

I am, therefore, requesting that you rethink your directives, noting that you are aware that time is not on my side as nomination closes on 26 October 2015, and your requests are causing me substantial delays, unless this is a tacit intent to disrupt my aspiration and application process.

I assumed that the NFF, headed by you, would be happy and excited that a Nigerian citizen has indicated interest to take up the challenge and that our dear nation deserves this quest as part of its reward for its contributions to this global sport. I thought the NFF would do everything in its power to support and facilitate this aspirational and brave effort. Rather, it appears that the NFF is becoming and creating obstacles in the way.

I am attaching a letter from my State Football Association to which I am directly affiliated.

Since retiring from the game in 1984, for 31 unbroken years, I have been continually connected with the game of football in Nigeria at various levels – national and international. As a reminder, I am also stating some of my antecedents and curriculum vitae;

· In March 1998, I was decorated a Sports Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in recognition of my role as a former international football player, former captain of the national team of Nigeria and 1998 FIFA/MasterCard awardee as one of the Best African Players of the last Century
· Twice, I served as a member of the board of the Nigeria Football Association and in several committees of the NFF and the Sports Ministry
· I worked in the media as a newspaper journalist, columnist, television presenter/producer and football analyst for various national and international media [I am a registered member of the Sports Journalist Association (SJA) of the UK, as well as the AIPS]
· I have written 4 books on Nigerian football
· I managed some Nigerian football clubs through the years. I am presently the Chairman of Ewekoro United Football Club, as well as Ewekoro Local Government Football Council, Ogun State, and managing consultant of First Bank Football Club of Lagos [for the last 3 years], the All-Nigeria Secondary Schools Football Championship for the Shell Cup [for the past 17 years], Milo International Under-13 Africa Football Championship [since 2011]
· I am the proprietor of The International Sports Academy, Wasimi, Ogun State, a specialist secondary school that combines a football academy with education for young Nigerian footballers
· I have served for 6 years in CAF’s Players Committee
· I have served as the Chairman of the Governing Council of Nigeria’s National Institute for Sports for the training of football coaches and administrators
· I was Chairman of Nigeria’s 2010 World Cup aborted bid.
· I was a member of the Presidential Task force to the 2010 World Cup.

All these and more are a testimony to my continuing contribution to football in Nigeria, and make me qualify to represent our great nation as a candidate for the position of the President of FIFA.

Kindly note again that your demands of me to seek endorsement by a government agency, and endorsement by CAF are not requirements of FIFA for contesting the elections. Therefore, once again, I am requesting that;
1. The NFF should immediately withdraw its demands for endorsements from CAF or any government agency, as these are not requirements of/for eligibility for the FIFA elections. The individuals, with the support of the NFF, will seek the support of both important bodies [and more] not their official endorsements.
2. The NFF takes the proper decision to nominate any Nigerian that has formally requested for its nomination and that must be a Nigerian, eligible and of good character and integrity to contest the FIFA Presidential elections.

I look forward to your response and cooperation on this matter urgently!

Yours sincerely,

Chief [Dr.] ‘Segun Odegbami, MON, fnim

CC:
1. President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR
The President & Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces,
Federal Republic of Nigeria,
Aso Rock Villa,
FCT, Abuja.

2. The General Secretary,
FIFA Zurich.

3. Alhaji Issa Hayatou,
The President,CAF.

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5 Comments

  1. Reply Post By AFOLABI DAVID

    GOOD BLESS YOU SIR. CORRUPTION IS JUST AT WORK AGAIN. INSTEAD OF BEING HAPPY TO SUPPORT THEIR OWN. HATRED GREED AND POMPOSITY IS TAKING THE STAGE AGAIN WHEN SHALL WE LEARN TO VALUE OUR OWN AND NOT SELL IT CHEAPLY AND EXPECT THE WORLD TO BUY IT COSTLY.

    WAKE UP, IF THIS MAN DECIDE TO TAKE THE BOLD STEP WHY NOT SUPPORT HIM AND LET FAITH AND GOD DO THE REST FOR US WHY DO WE LIKE TO STEP IN OTHERS WAY BECAUSE OF PERSONAL AND SELFISH INTEREST INSTEAD OF NATIONAL INTEREST.

    ARE THOSE PEOPLE CONTESTING SUPERIOR TO MR SEGUN? DO THEY HAVE 2 HEADS? ARE THEY MORE INTELEGENT THAT HIM? OR IS IT BECAUSE OF COLOR (BLACK) OR YOU JUST DONT WANT IT TO BE MR SEGUN. AS NIGERIA WILL SAY( THIS SEGUN SELF WHO DO HE THINK HE IS TO CONTEST OR BECOME FIFA PRESIDENT AND COME AND RULE OVER ME) INSTEAD OF SEEING IT AS A NATIONAL PRIDE. HATRED AND PERSOANL EGO COMES TO PLAY AGAIN. PLS LET US LOVE OUR COUNTRY AND MAKE IT GREAT THERE IS NOTHING WRONG IN MR SEGUN AMD MR KALU CONTESTING AS THEY ARE HUMAN BEING AND HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE AMBITIOUS AS THE REST CONTESTING. PLS ALLOW THEM TO PURSUIT THEIR DREAM AND STOP BEING A DREAM KILLER BUT LET US BE PART OF THE DREAM SO THAT IT CAN COME THROUGH. AMEN

    GOD BLESS NIGERIA.

  2. I can only tell you that politics that Nigerians play at the expense of other citizen is bizarre, nosediving and ridiculously shameful. This guy should have been granted interviews from all African sport jonalists. Now his motherland is the barrier and hurdle he is facing. This is the reason the western world progresses while Africa is where he is despite being partially blessed with resources

  3. I read so tey I tire. This is the Mathematical Odegbami at his tricks just like when he was an active footballer. My fear was that if you run for the FIFA Presidency, your academy will suffer. I still stand by that. Running for such a powerful position like the FIFA President, is a “not one man” show but that of the Confederation. In our case it is CAF. That is why we hear of Europe will support Platini. South ASIA will support Platini. All the Confederations are taking sides. Of course individual will vote but they will go em-block. Nigeria, Africa are corrupt places but as long as these corrupt men are in charge of running the affairs of an institution, you do business with them. Police is corrupt. The ministries are corrupt. Custom, Immigration are corrupt. We still do biz with them. So Mr. Chief(Dr.) ‘Segun Odegbami, you must meet with the NFF and CAF board if you are serious about this venture. Is it reasonable that you just walk to FIFA without first meeting with your Confederation? Come to think of it. Is FIFA not more corrupt than CAF? So if you cannot meet CAF because they are corrupt, but you can meet FIFA that is more corrupt. It is this same CAF/FIFA corrupt men that you are seeking their vote. Something is not right here. I have a very strong feeling that with this corruption thing, maybe President Buhari may give out the Sports Minister slot to somebody that wants to fight corruption in FIFA. My feelings about something usually don’t go wrong.

  4. That’s how they threw Keanu out, Oliseh story is part 2,they still gonna get that foreign coach to get those dollars rolling.

  5. I meant Keshi.

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