FIFA Presidency: How Odegbami Shot Himself In The Leg | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


FIFA Presidency: How Odegbami Shot Himself In The Leg

Posted: Dec 10, 2015 at 7:45 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

“I don’t want to say that the process was sabotaged from the word go but that’s the truth staring us in our faces,” Segun Odegbami. But that was what he later said when his name was missing on Monday, October 26, 2015, deadline for the submission of nomination form for candidates vying for the presidency of the Federation International de Football Association, FIFA.

The 63-year-old Segun Odegbami who was in the contest started throwing tantrums against reputable Nigerians like former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu who was in the race but backed out at the eleventh hour, and ex-FIFA executive committee member Amos Adamu who tremendously endorsed Kalu, for his failure.

The Nigeria Football Federal, NFF, was not left out of the bickering of Odegbami; just as the President of the body, Amaju Pinnick was not left alone, either. The former chairman of the National Institute for Sports (NIS) and Nigeria skipper Odegbami nearly went barmy for this reason as no day passed by without him appearing in the media to further his campaign of denigration against Kalu or any of the marked persons or groups he felt that were behind his torment not to get the backing of other African countries in his quest to be elected new FIFA boss.

Conversely, indications emerging since then have shown Odegbami to be incorrect with his claims; he was just powerless to win the required backing of five member associations, said experts. But instead he would accept that his frail political standing and perceived sadistic nature were behind his failure, he rather claimed that the NFF did not give him the support that he needed.

Then-again, he was wrong as a report in The Nation, October 27 2015, said, “Odegbami, who was endorsed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to run for the FIFA presidency in February, could not muster nominations from five African soccer federations by Monday’s deadline to enable him stand for the FIFA elections.”

Odegbami speaking haphazardly said that the NFF offered him its support too late to meet Monday’s deadline. Again, he blamed himself, saying, “That was their reaction to my letter sent to them two months ago. It is preposterous.” The difficulty to come to term with Odegbami’s uncertain-statements was that the NFF he claimed was aloof gave him its support, at least.

But Odegbami would prefer denying this fact and accepting it later or saying that the support came very late. He exposed his boisterous self again by saying that he had criticised de cream de la crème in the world of football. He started with his uncouth criticism of what he said was the “long-standing Confederation of African Football president Issa Hayatou.”

Odegbami who has a long rope of those he believed were behind his aborted FIFA presidential ambition without holding anybody or group liable said that his biased standing against Hayatou might have counted against him. Hear his continuous feint in all angles, “Of course there are local politics within the Nigerian and African football system that pitches some of us against the established system. I have been one of the most virulent critics of the perpetuity in office of Issa Hayatou in office and I knew I was not one of his best friends.”

Some analysts believed that Odegbami should better write a book on football critiques rather than go for political positions in any football bodies, as they could see his detractor-ship in the former. A football commentator who would not want the name in print warned Odegbami to watch his words.

“Odegbami should watch his words. It was a primary school mistake for him to have aspired to contest in the first place when he never did any homework on such post; or how many times did he work for FIFA before now, in any capacity? He could not have expected to get favour from the same people he had been fighting for years,” said the commentator.

While Odegbami claimed that a mountain of persons and groups fostered to his failure, the NFF warned him to stop his “campaign of calumny” against the federation and prominent Nigerian football figures, Premium Times, November 2 2015, reported.

“It also asked the ex-footballer to face up to the reality that he undid his own campaign for a slot at the FIFA Presidency,” the source said. Adamu dismissed Odegbami’s allegation with a wave of hand, saying it was a tissue of lies and cheap blackmail, stressing that such frivolous allegation was not to be expected from a man of Odegbami’s status.

Speaking, Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande, Chairman of the NFF Media and Publicity Committee, stated, “We are thoroughly disappointed at the conduct of Chief Odegbami since his failed bid. He was his own big problem, with the letter he wrote castigating the leadership of FIFA and CAF, which he brazenly copied to these eminent figures.

We consider Chief Odegbami an elder statesman in Nigeria football, but he has been throwing a lot of tantrums lately. He has been accusing very prominent and illustrious persons of so many things, and imagining himself to be a saint.” Then-again for Yahaya-Kwande who’s said to be a member of the House of Representatives:

“The NFF is aware that Odegbami reached out to the Football Associations of Ghana, Togo, Benin Republic and Zambia. How is his failure the fault of the NFF? They told him to his face that they were opposed to him because of his statements against the President of CAF, who is now Acting FIFA President.”