As against the true narrative of the Edo State Football Association situation, many agents of mischief have sowed seeds of discords amongst stakeholders of the state football fraternity and have taken it by twist into the political unrest of the state which they have deployed in pointing accusing fingers against innocent ones.
Putting all the flying rumours of sections of the media and football community which have recently accused the committee and the state’s sports commission of having an interest in some candidates ahead of the upcoming FA board and Local council elections to bed, the chairman of the State football association electoral committee, Professor Darlington Obaseki has tagged such an insult on his personality for taking up what he thinks it’s a civil responsibility.
In a telephone interview on KU 92.7FM’s Sports Fiesta, anchored by veteran sports journalist and anchor, Saliu Ibrahim on Tuesday morning, the FA election committee chairman rubbished all claims emanating from the media space, labelling them as an insult to his personality, when asked to comment on the recent reports on the media space by the veteran journalist.
According to the Chief Medical Director of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, “It is an insult to my personality if anyone thinks I can be a tool in the hands of anyone concerning the outcome of the upcoming elections. I only accepted my appointment as the chairman of the committee because I think I can contribute my quota towards the growth of football in the state and I also want a level playing field for everyone.”
When asked about the delegates who can take part in the election, he said that there are 7 statutory FA delegates which include the representatives of the referee association, the players union, the Nigerian Premier Football League (NPFL), the Nationwide League (NLO), the Nigerian women premier League, the Nigerian women championship, and the coaches association.
Professor Obaseki agreed that the committee thought that Dynamite Force FC was going to take the Nigerian National League (NNL) slot for the election but because they qualified this year and they’re yet to complete their registration and documentation they won’t be taking the slot, and the slot for the NNL will be vacant.
On the issue of having the elections at the Edo State sports commission board room and not the various Local government secretariats in the state, he cited the time constraints and everything that would be involved in having the electoral committee visit each of the 18 LGA secretariats for the LGA councils elections.
In his words, “instead of the committee going round the 18 LGA secretariats, it would be easier for all the delegates and candidates to gather in a day at a venue ( the commission’s board room) for the election and go back to their various LGAs the same day, considering the short time for the election.”
He said that instead of some persons drawing conclusions based on assumptions about an election that is not yet done, they should rather be engaging the football stakeholders who will be the deciders of the elections.
On the issue of the manifesto, he said that the committee earlier scheduled it for the election day but some stakeholders have also called to say that there might be no time on the election day for the manifesto and that they desire a separate day where they’ll have enough time to properly engage and canvass the delegates for their support and votes.
The professor of Histopathology however stated that the committee will meet and decide on that issue as every detail must be considered, especially the time and logistics constraints.
The 55-year-old stated that the committee is very committed to fair play and discharge of their functions in line with the guidelines for the election on all matters even including the area where if the chairman emerges from a particular local government that the vice chairman cannot emerge from that same local government.
On a final note, he used the medium to reassure the general public that the electoral committee is not interested in any candidate, is not against any candidate and they are not promoting any candidate. He said the committee is committed to providing a level playing ground for every candidate and also conducting free and fair elections.