• Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

Edo FA Election: The Looming Threat of a Normalisation Committee

The future of Edo State Football Association (FA) is facing another wave of uncertainty as the Edo FA election has been postponed yet again, leaving the FA in a state of limbo.

As first communicated by the Edo State FA board, all matters as regards the election ought to have been concluded by August 29, 2023. However, the election suffered its first postponement.

The rescheduled date, September 12, 2023 came and the story of postponement sufficed for the second time. However, the election failed to conclude on that said date.

A new date was communicated, October 4th, 2023. On the day of the election, candidates and delegates were scattered across Benin as no one was sure of the election venue. Some were at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, with some persons at the Airforce Base at the airport road. By noon, it was revealed that the election had been postponed.

Again, the venue and date for the election were communicated to be held on October 24, 2023. And to the surprise of a few, the election has been postponed.

While the exact reason for today’s election postponement remains a mystery, previous postponements point to the shifting of the election venue from the Air Force base to the stadium for security reasons.

However, the twists and turns in Edo State football politics do not end there. The election drama also took a dramatic turn when the Electoral Committee chairman, Professor Darlington Obaseki, was removed from his position by the Board led by its chairman, Dr. Aghedo Moses. The latest development returns the election venue to the Air Force base, but it seems the uncertainty lingers on.

If the impasse persists and a resolution isn’t reached locally, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) may consider appointing a Normalisation Committee from Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, to oversee football affairs in Edo State. This is a strategy employed in cases where the state’s football administration faces prolonged instability. An example that comes to mind is Nasarawa State, where a Normalisation Committee was appointed.

The primary objective of a Normalisation Committee is to restore stability, promote transparency, and ensure the smooth running of football affairs within the state. They aim to resolve internal issues, foster unity among stakeholders, and create an enabling environment for football development. However, the issue in Nasarawa State serves as a stark warning. Despite their initial purpose, the Normalisation Committee there has retained power, thus centralizing control of football in the state, much to the chagrin of local football lovers.

Edo State football now finds itself at a crossroads, teetering on the brink of a Normalisation Committee’s intervention. The fear is that if such a committee is appointed, it may pose a risk to the autonomy and self-governance of Edo State football. Instead of being accountable to the local footballing community, this committee would report directly to the Glass House in Abuja.

The concerns stem from examples like Kaduna and Plateau states, where Normalisation Committees were introduced but have shown a reluctance to transfer power back to the local football authorities. One needs to remember that this centralization of control may hinder the growth and development of football within the state.

As the postponement saga continues in Edo State, we are left with a lingering question: Will the appointment of a Normalisation Committee be a saving grace or a potential threat to the footballing community in Edo State? The uncertain answer remains in the hands of Edolites, and the future of Edo State football hangs in the balance.

Jokanola Bolaji

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