Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt Hon Comrade Philip Shaibu, has charged the Edo State Football Association (EFA), to institute a football administrative system in conformity with global best practices.
Shaibu gave the charge when he hosted the Edo Football Association at a meeting, Wednesday, in Government House, Benin City.
The Deputy Governor recounted the journey so far undertaken by the State Government to return sports to its rightful place in the comity of States in Nigeria as a role model.
Congratulating the FA on their contributions to the success of Bendel Insurance in the just-concluded football season, Shaibu, who was a former captain of the current Federation Cup champions, highlighted the successes they have recorded in the sports arena – but not without some challenges.
“Congratulations to the FA on their involvement in the successful journey of Bendel Insurance FC – the unbeaten streak, the FA Cup triumph in 43 years – this shows that football is back in its original home.
“Mr Governor made it clear from the on-set that sports were going to be one of the core pillars of this administration. We were clear about what we were going to do, especially in terms of reforms; one of which birthed the Sports Commission that was conceived as a far-reaching idea from the moribund and archaic sports council”.
“Although it didn’t come easy because our political opponents were all over us and standing against what we were doing, by instigating athletes to distract and frustrate us”.
“I’m happy that the Governor gave us free hands to make all the reforms that we made”.
“Today, we are being recognized even outside the country and our templates have become what people are copying. States are now contacting us to help them set up their own sports administrative system”.
“Today, every sports Federation wants to come to Edo because of our infrastructure – not political – but internationally certified, customized facilities dedicated to every sport”.
“All we did was for the future and not just for us to score points. Our track has been used for national trials twice and has seen it produce a world champion. Any record set on the track is international and not just local”.
While admonishing the FA on sourcing for private sector partnership and sponsorship, Shaibu tasked them to come up with credible officials in the forthcoming election, by producing tested and trusted technocrats that would be on the ground to attend to everything that concerns football in the State.
“We as a Government, have created the enabling environment. It’s now time for you to seek private sector intervention, partnership and sponsorship. FA in Edo must be private sector driven; we can assist you – but it’s time for the private sector to take over that”.
“What we want to achieve in this State with the FA is to have at least, 3,120 players playing a league in Edo State. When you have that in the men’s football and add that to the women’s team, you will be talking about five thousand youths out of the street”.
“Your FA should have chairmen and other executives at the local government that will bring all these dreams into reality and not just FA executives that will just come to Benin during elections and leave”.
“No club will go to the national league without playing in the league, we must revisit the rudiments to start breeding long-lasting players and not just one year of wonder”, Shaibu added.
In his remarks, the acting chairman of the Edo State Football Association, Dr. Aghedo Mose Noted that the Edo FA is standing in the gap between the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF and the State Sports Commission.
While appreciating the deputy governor over his commitment to the sports commission, Dr Aghedo Moses established the facts that the Edo State Football Association FA election was put on hold by the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, adding that he became the acting chairman of the association through a letter sent to the group from the NFF on the recommendation of the Edo State FA who passed a vote of no confidence on the ex-while chairman
“We wrote a letter to the NFF about the conduct of the Edo State FA executive election and the local council election, but they declined and put it on hold even when people purchased the form, this is because a vote of no confidence was passed on the former chairman of Edo FA.”
“As we speak, we have not received any of all those forms bought that and submitted to the FA, but processes are on to have them retrieved from the erstwhile chairman.”
“We want to plead that your Excellency advance us with funds to carry out the election from the grassroots to the top – this hasn’t been done before , but we want to lay a very good foundation for others to build on – this is very elaborous and it involves funds”
The acting chairman however appealed to the deputy governor to financially advance the association to conduct a democratic election that will usher in new FA executives both at the state and the Local Government.
“For an enduring Edo FA, we plead for subvention – anything given in a month, we will not be ungrateful. We would love Your Excellency to extend to the FA every benevolence as graciously extended to other sports.”