The BATTLE for who becomes the Director General of the National Sports Commission (NSC) is on and more seriously so. Dr Patrick Ekeji just retired and must be replaced soonest. Interestingly, everyone thought his replacement will be announced within days of his leaving but this was not the case. Actually, his retirement took lots of Sports followers by surprise aside close watchers of the NSC who knew he would surely be leaving. In fact, the real gossip has been who replaces him.
The media, at least a section of it began speculating that it will be an easy one for Dr Bolaji Ojo-Oba, one time Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Secretary General for years. They said he is most senior of the Sports Technocrats in the NSC. They pointed also to the fact that Dr Amos Adamu, the first ever DG of the NSC, who Patrick Ekeji took over from will certainly do all in his power to ensure Ojo-Oba becomes the new DG as it will continue to make him a Kingpin in the scheme of things in spite of being on sabbatical from Sports courtesy of his three years ban from FIFA.
Note that Dr Adamu will be free of that ban later this year so imagine how sweet it will be for him if he can have his guy Bolaji Ojo-Oba, installed as the DG and if all goes well as speculated he returns to the CAF Executive in 2015 and replace his Mentor Issa Hayatou as CAF President a year later as Hayatou will step down as President in 2016 as he attains age 70 which is the age a CAF President must leave. For Adamu that will be the dream and plan and dare I say it will be so sweet to have Ojo-Oba calling the shots as NSC DG.
However, there are hurdles to be crossed. Some critics of Ojooba are pointing to his alleged Corruption cases still on against the EFCC as a moral minus to adding his name on the list in the first place. Also, whispers from the Commission indicate a Mallam Mustapha who sources insist is the most senior Civil Servant in the NSC and if they are to go by the rule of who is most senior will be the new DG. However, others have insisted that Mallam Mustapha, not known to many in Nigerian Sports might surely be ruled out for not being a Sports Technocrat.
So, that leaves us with Dr Alhassan Yakmut. A Ph.D Holder himself, he is the youngest but the worst his opponents can do is to underrate him. He rose very fast and on merit from joining the Commission decades ago with a Masters degree after retiring from Handball/Basketball in Kano playing also for the National Team as well.
He is a step junior in rank to Ojo-Oba but if the Media is to be believed these are the two gentlemen locked in battle for the job and there have been serious rumour that it's not as smooth as it is on the surface as they are both said to be throwing everything into the fight to be the number one Administrative Man in charge of Nigerian Sports and it is been said that their battle for the position have seen the house divide.
And then this is where the UNEXPECTED happens! Nigerian Sports experts are now scratching their heads as the unexpected looks about to happen. All of a sudden one familiar name just cropped into the list: Evangelist SOLOMON OGBA! Well, how come says the experts, he is not a Staff of the NSC, which makes his name being in the tray at all an anomaly normally and what this portends for Ojooba and Yakmut is that if Ogba wins they will have to be retired from service.
But daily the indications are that Ogba might just make history and become the First ever Person to Head the NSC from the outside. The surprise is that he is coming into the equation from the outside. But that's where the surprise ends. No single person not least Ojooba and Yakmut can question the pedigree and experience of Ogba (who we know used to be a very very close friend of Dr Amos Adamu but unconfirmed stories say they are not as tight as they were before) as well as the Wisdom of Solomon he brings to the table.
Now, the President of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN), where he is bringing so much innovations and progress, Ogba was the Commissioner for Sports in Delta State for eight years with exemplary achievements to show for it. He's got vast international connections and he is so rich personally from divers multiple businesses that it will be foolhardy to say he is into Sports Administration for the Money as he personally sponsor and help Nigerian Sports Protégées personally.
So, why then would he want this particular job in the first place, knowing its a full time ulcer provoking job with extreme controversies and full attention of the Media and National Assembly? Ogba is friendly enough but is one who keeps things to his chest. But reliable sources said he might be going for it out of political compromise.
Unknown to most, Evangelist Ogba is a high up chieftain in the PDP in Delta State and Nigeria and he was to jump into the boat to compete for the Governorship position in 2015. Powerful sources inform that he was convinced to stay where he is most known and Delta State Is doing everything in its power to ensure he gets the NSC job including the top hierarchy of the PDP. The mere fact that he is in the running in the first place tells the story. A candidate completely on the outside. But who dares to rule out the chances of Chief Ogba? Watch this Space!
by 'Remi Sulola. Follow her on twitter- @kisulola1