By Adeniyi Olugbemi
The hallmarks of leadership is having a listening ear and taking decisive action, a trait Governor Ahmadu Fintiri, have exhibited in his decision with regards to clarion calls to rescue the state darling team, Adamawa United FC, from the hawks, feasting on the club.
My instinct may not be far from the truth that Governor Fintiri, might have dusted the shelves in his office and probably, stumbled on the piece I wrote to former Governor Boni Haruna, titled – HOW ADAMAWA UNITED FC MAY EXCEL. The bottom line, was to place the club administration and supervision directly under the office of the governor.
This is the norm of successful club sides till date on the domestic scene. Aside having technocrats in charge of running the affairs of the club, it is also a leeway to say good riddance to administrative, bureaucratic and financial malaise, the exact banes that caused Adamawa United FC instant relegation in it first campaign during the 2006/2007 Nigeria Premier League. It is the same unfortunate scenario that is playing out in the current season.
Those in the know, will attest for free that, this is the major reason behind the success story of clubs like Enyimba International FC of Aba, as seven times champion of Nigeria league; back-to-back winners of Africa Champions Cup. This is the same reason why Rangers International of Enugu, has not tasted relegation from the Premier cadre of the Nigerian league. The same reason why Kano Pillars FC is excelling on the domestic scene and same reason why next door neighbor, El Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri, hardly spend more than a season before returning to the Premier league, anytime the club is relegated.
Still on the piece – HOW ADAMAWA UNITED FC MAY EXCEL, former Governor Boni Haruna naively (with due apology), minuted on my write up and handed it to then Commissioner of Youth and Sports, Alhaji Jibrin Gurum, for his advise. The portion of moving the club from the ministry to the governor’s office got Alhaji Gurum furious and his reaction can be better imagined. Alhaji Gurum initially perceived me, his sworn enemy but in the of time, when he realised my genuine commitment to the advancement of sport in the state, we reconciled and eventually worked together.
For posterity sake, our working together culminated in the state contingent impressive performance at Nigerian version of the Olympic Games, the ‘Abuja 2004’ and ‘Gateway 2006,’ National Sports Festival. Till date, Adamawa state has never smell gold medal at the NSF, after the gold medal won in Javelin by Hadiza Musa at the Abuja 2004 and another gold, won in male tennis at Gateway 2006 National Sports Festival.
Winning a ticket to represent Nigeria in Oslo, Norway, at an International Youth Football Tournament, after a 1-0 loss to Edo state at YSFON organized U-16 girls tournament held in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, was an icing on my sport legacy in Adamawa state. The takeover of the YSFON team under mutual concession to the state government, was the success story behind Adamawa Queens FC.
For the record, Honourable Sanusi Farouk, was not alone in the sacrilege to see Adamawa United dead. His cohorts sensing that music is about to change, do not spare a second thought before they abandoned him mid-sea and begin to sing a different new tune.
First to recant was the Permanent Secretary, Adamawa state Ministry of Youth and Sports Alhaji Abubakar Jada, he was quoted in The PUNCH this, “Zira has not been replaced and he is the club chairman as far as I am concern. If you say you suspended someone, you must give him a letter to show that he was suspended. But there was no letter in my office as regards his suspension.”
The super-imposed vice chairman, Abdullahi Abdulkadir, who allegedly superintend the suspension of Emmanuel Zira, speaking from both sides of the mouth told The PUNCH that, “Zira remained a FRIEND (emphasis mine), of the club, I am at the moment in charge of Adamawa United as the club’s acting chairman and it may become permanent or not. Anything can happen but I won’t say much.
“Just as Zira was employed, I was also employed too and those in the ministry are the ones to talk about his position. As far as I am concerned, he is still our colleague. When the issue surrounding Zira is resolved, he will come back because nobody give him a sack letter. Whenever the government feels he should return, he will because I am only acting on his behalf.”
Suffice is to say that Emmanuel Zira needs the support and cooperation of all and sundry on his rescue mission as the club helsman, at a time like this, when the hope of surviving relegation seems an herculean task.
In the event the inevitable happen (God forbid), the blame should be heaped on the doorstep of the Hawks that bare their claws, feasted on the club and left the carcass for Emmanuel Zira.
Olugbemi is a journalist and sports enthusiast