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Football | Nigeria

Obaseki says NFF out of bounds with NPL



Former chairman of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL), Oyuki Obaseki believes the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is wrong in trying to find a truce in the current crisis rocking the league’s governing body.

The NPL board was sacked by 18 clubs after a meeting in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, on Wednesday. Baribote Victor Rumson has however continued to insist he is still chairman of the NPL board which prompted the NFF to wade into the crisis as they attempt to find a solution to the impasse.

Obaseki, who was chairman of the NPL between 2008 and 2010, said the NFF was wrong to have called for a meeting between the club owners and the Baribote-led NPL board.

“The NFF must not dictate to the NPL. They (NFF) have no right to interfere in the decisions and affairs of the NPL. Fifa is watching. They are not doing the right thing. I am very sure people are behind them,” Obaseki exclusively told supersport.com.

Obaseki said the club owners were backed by the statues to call for the dissolution of the NPL board but insisted that they (club owners) should have waited for the 2012 congress before making their move to unseat Baribote.

“The congress is backed by statutes of the NPL to dissolve the board. But my question is why they were in such a hurry? The 2012 congress had been fixed for Thursday and by Wednesday morning, they take a decision to dissolve the board. Why the hurry?

“Since they had 16 or 17 club owners, they should have gone to the congress on Thursday and move a motion to throw the board out of office if they felt that was the right call,” he said.

The football chief said he was pained at the situation as he had worked hard during his tenure as NPL chairman to make the league a brand.

“I worked very hard. I used my money to start the Nigeria Premier League. I had passion. I increased the indemnities of match officials from N2,000 (about $13 USD) to N20,000 (about $127 USD).

The present board of the NPL is different. They have no money. But if they are good managers, they can manage the funds from TV rights to run the league and also seek for funds from other areas.

“There is no way the congress would have passed a vote of no confidence on me because there would have been no reason to warrant such an action.

“During the 2008/09 NPL congress, the club owners wanted more money from TV rights but I refused. We were in a meeting that lasted all night but I stood my ground.

“I made them understand that when I was negotiating the money for broadcast rights and title sponsorship, we did not have one kobo (smallest unit of Nigerian currency).

“We advertised and NTA and AIT paid the money but AIT could not pay up completely and NTA came in and because they were a federal establishment, we accepted," he said.

Obaseki also revealed that Baribote was always facing a difficult task as NPL chairman and was not surprised at his present travails.

“Remember (former Enugu Rangers CEO), Davidson Owumi won the NPL elections by 18-2 votes. But Owumi was too fast.

“He contested as chairman and chairman of chairmen and duly lost his position because it is impossible to hold both posts simultaneously.

“But with two votes from the elections, Baribote was always walking a tight rope. The future was bleak for him so I am not surprised that all these are happening,” he stated.

The Benin High Chief concluded by predicting a dangerous phase for Nigeria football if "things are not handled in the right manner."

“Our football will go down the drain if things are not handled in the right manner. Let the statutes be implemented and the NFF must not meddle in the affairs of the NPL,” he said.

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