George Aluo and Nkechi Obi, two media personalities who have been at the vanguard of calls for improved standard of Nigerian football are now on the saddle to implement the lofty ideas they crave for.
They along with other board members of the other tiers of the Nigerian football leagues have been challenged by NFF president, Ibarahim Gusau to raise the bar in league management.
It was at the occasion of inauguration of the newly-constituted Boards of the Nigeria National League, Nigeria Nation-Wide League One and the Nigeria Women Football League.
George Aluo becomes the second journalist, after Emeka Inyama to head the Nigeria National League. Similarly, Nkechi Obi, a sports marketing and media expert is the second in that professional line to head the Nigeria Women’s League.
Aisha Falode had been a pace-setter. They now face the daunting challenge thrown by Gusau who charged them and the leadership of the Nigeria Nationwide League to come up with feasible plans and marketing strategies that will take Nigeria’s domestic football to new heights.
Gusau with chairman and members of the NWFL
At the inauguration of the Boards inside the Conference Room of the NFF on Monday afternoon, Gusau also warned that the boards should have clear plans on how to sustain organization of matches and generally fulfil its responsibilities before the commencement of any season.
“We have picked men and women of high calibre, integrity and drive in order that we will have sustainable Leagues. We do not want a situation whereby a league will get to the middle of the season and be saying there is no longer money to run its programmes. We believe we have, in the new boards, men and women who can turn things around.
“I am indeed happy to be here performing this action this afternoon, at a time and period that our domestic football is gaining fresh momentum thanks to the impressive organization of the Nigeria Premier Football League in the recently-concluded season, and also the colour, razzmatazz and positive vibes from the Super 6 of the NPFL, the NWFL and the NNL, and the pre-season Super 8 Tournament that ended in Lagos at the weekend
“Therefore, the task of the new Boards of the different Leagues is to ensure that the momentum is not only sustained, but greatly enhanced in order to take Nigeria domestic football to new heights of excellence.”
The NFF president insisted that the Leagues are the drivers of the domestic game, and must do the job of transforming the game of football in Nigeria to a robust and profitable business.
“The Nigeria Football Federation is determined that our football should be developed from the grassroots, with so much focus on young players, young referees and young coaches. While we will put up the policies, the Boards of the Leagues will have to put in the energy and drive to implement these policies and generally improve the lot of the domestic game.
“Last year, the Federal Government promoted sports from the category of recreation to business. Football is therefore big business, and we must start to treat it as such. You all have the responsibility to develop workable marketing strategies and media plans to build viable products of the NNL, NWFL and the NLO.”
Responding, Silas Agara, George Aluo and Nkechi Obi all promised to work with their various board members to achieve a positive turnaround of the state of Nigeria’s domestic game.
NIGERIA NATIONAL LEAGUE: Mr. George Aluo (Chairman); Hon. Khamisu Ahmed Mailantarki (Vice Chairman); Mr. Yakubu Sarma (Member); Mallam Sani Mohammed (Member); Dr. Donald Ikpe (Member); Chief Joseph Uzoma Ebowusim (Member); Chief Dotun Sanusi (Member); Mr. Emmanuel Attah (CEO).
NIGERIA NATION-WIDE LEAGUE ONE: Hon. Silas Agara (Chairman); Mr. Adeoye Adepeju (Vice Chairman); Mallam Sabo Abdullahi Dutse (Member); Mr. Ogheneochuko Ambakaderemo (Member); Mr. Tunji Onatolu (Member); Barr. Bucknor Akintade (Member); Alhaji Salisu Ibrahim (Member); Mallam Hassan Abdullahi Garo (CEO).
NIGERIA WOMEN FOOTBALL LEAGUE: Ms Nkechi Nneka Obi (Chairman); Hajiya Hussaina Suleman (Vice Chairman); Alhaja Rukayat Lola Alaya (Member); FIFA Hadiza Musa (Member); Mr. Ayodele Thomas (Member); Ms Henrietta Ehiobor (Member); Mr. Danny Nazzal (Member).