The world football governing body, FIFA today commended Nigeria for finally resolving the crisis, which had plagued its football family and resulted in the poor performances of national teams in recent times.
At a meeting between a delegation from Nigeria led by the Supervising Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi and top FIFA executives in Zurich, Switzerland, the football body applauded the efforts of the Minister in ensuring that all the aggrieved parties embraced peace and rededicated themselves to the growth and progress of Nigeria football.
President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, who was present at the meeting, said, “Nigeria is a very important country to us; in fact, one of the most important countries, so what happens in Nigerian football has great significance for us in FIFA.”
He commended the Minister for resolving the crisis that has threatened to stagnate Nigerian football within a short time in office.
Describing the Minister as a “young man with great wisdom”, he said “We have had this issue on our desk for a long time. Therefore, I cannot thank you enough, Honourable Minister for resolving this problem. Football cannot grow in an atmosphere of instability. We are happy that this is resolved and now we can focus on the business of football development in Nigeria.”
Blatter noted that football is important as a tool of youth development and national integration in a country like Nigeria, and acknowledges the support of government for football. He recalls with gratitude the role Nigeria has played in hosting FIFA age-grade competitions in the past and expresses condolence to the President of Nigeria through the Minister over the Boko Haram issues in the country.
When told that Nigeria gives about $20m annually to the Federation, Blatter and his team quipped, “You guys (NFF) are lucky, “ noting that with this kind of support, they cannot ask government not to demand accountability. “We are only not happy when we have reasons to believe that government wants to take control of the NFF that has been duly elected or sacks a Federation with fiat.”
They noted that FIFA takes the issue of accountability seriously “and even we in FIFA are reviewing our statutes as part of our reform process so as to allow for greater accountability and transparency.”
Blatter also commended the NFF President, Aminu Maigari, Dr. Sam Jaja and Chief Ray Nnaji for giving peace a chance and agreeing to settle their grievances amicably.
The Minister noted that he would work with his team in the days ahead to reconcile the NFF Bill with the FIFA statutes and work with the National Assembly to ensure speedy passage of the bill. FIFA therefore promised to work with Nigeria in the days ahead to achieve sustainable peace in the Federation and ensure that all other issues are amicably resolved.