Nigeria Football Supporters Club: Time to End The War
By Harry Awurumibe Editor, ABUJA BUREAU
With the end of the four- year crisis in the Nigerian football house following the re-election of Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick as the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, one would think that the feuding factions of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club will bury their hatchet and embrace peace in the spirit of sportsmanship.
The NFF supremo had in his acceptance speech after winning a landslide victory in the 2018 NFF Elective Congress in Katsina last month declared No Victor No Vanquished in the Football house.
But this advice has fallen on deaf ears of the two factions of members of the Supporters Club who have been at daggers drawn for over three years now. During this period the activities of the foremost Supporters of Nigeria’s national football teams taking on foreign teams have become inimical to the image of the nation.
For example, there has been a dogfight for the Soul of the club by the two factions led by revered Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, the self- styled President General (PG) of the club and his former henchmen, Revd. Ikpea and Odion Okumagba.
This has led the club to now work at the cross purposes at match venues with each faction trying hard to undermine their rivals and to the great disadvantage of the Nigerian teams.
Both factions made up of some responsible men and women of Nigeria have carried on like this for a long time but for a selfish reason the Ladipo Group and Okumagba Faction had to come together as one ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia in order to get the NFF and corporate financial support to be able to travel to Russia.
But the warring factions returnedto the trenches immediately they came back from Russia and the climax was the Show of Shame at Akwa Ibom International Airport, Uyo early today (Wednesday). Members of the two factions engaged themselves in serious fisticuffs to the embarrassment of the entire Senior National team, Super Eagles, foreigners and other airport users.
The fight over the allocation of free seats in the chartered flight conveying the Eagles to Sfax, Tunisia ahead of tomorrow’s AFCON 2019 qualifier Match Day 4 between Nigeria and Libya lasted for a long time at the airport.
This latest display of gross indispline by the two factions has called for the NFF to disown the two factions and henceforth regulate the activities of any group coming to associate with the football ruling body in Nigeria.
In alternative, a fresh body should be established by football stakeholders across Nigeria and overseas but with NFF having an oversight function as the sole owner of the National Teams the Supporters claim to support in major football matches within and outside Nigeria.
More national embarrassment is in the offing except this suggestion is looked into by NFF and immediately too.