I
remember sometime in December at the Landmark Hotel in Port Harcourt, I met
some folks who said they were stakeholders in Nigerian football.

That
was the night after they sacked the Victor Baribote Rumson (In pic) led Nigeria Premier League
management.
They
were probably celebrating their coup and I walked up to them to pick their
brains.
One
of them I remember clearly was Barrister Iyke Igbokwe and the other, who I do
not remember his name too well worked with Bayelsa United even though I heard
he was a Port Harcourt based business man.
I
asked them why they removed the Baribote led NPL board and they listed their
reasons which to me were just cover ups to the fact that they wanted some form
of compensation which they didn’t get anymore or never got at all.
Iyke
Igbokwe kept going on and on about how he was amongst those who made Baribote
chairman of the Nigeria Premier League and how he has removed him.
I
simply told them that Victor Baribote, though not best of friends with me was
not the problem with the Nigerian League, though he did little to solve them.
I
also let them know that the problems with the Nigerian League existing long
before the Baribote led board got into office and I began to educate them.
Sponsorship rights
The
Nigerian League has run without sponsors from the last year of the tenure of
Chief Jackson Oyuiki Obaseki.
That
year, the title rights holders, Globacom refused to pay and reports said they
refused because they felt they were not getting value for their money.
The
league still does not have a sponsor till date. Globacom last paid money four
years ago.
Prize money for
the league
This
is another issue I explained to them that was not and could not have been a
Baribote problem.  Since the Nigerian League
started in 1972 no club had received any money for winning the title.
Did
Baribote do anything about it? No!
Appearance fees
for clubs
When
Chief Jackson Oyuiki Obaseki took over as NPL chairman he introduced appearance
fees for clubs that played in the Nigerian top division.
That
had never happened before as Nigerians clubs had played for nothing previously despite
the league having sponsors before then.
The
clubs who played in the league used to get five million naira (about $33,000)
every season.
Two
years to the end of Obaseki’s tenure, the clubs demanded more money. They wanted
fifteen million naira each and Obaseki, after negotiation agreed to up the appearance
fees to ten million naira which was never paid because that was the last
season, Globacom paid any money for sponsorship fees.
League Broadcast
rights
Supersport
through Total promotions has owned the broadcast rights since 2006, deal worth about
seven hundred and fifty million naira yearly ($5m).
I
am aware that no club has ever received a penny from the League broadcast
rights money.
So
I explained to these two men that removing Baribote had been done, but the
problems were there before him.
I
also argued that it could be right to say he did nothing about changing things
but the big question was whether they had a solution to any of the things I mentioned
as being major problems of the League.
Was
it just about removing Victor Baribote Rumson because of personal differences
or where they about to put an end to the problems of the league?
I
added that it would be a shame if the Baribote Rumsen led board was removed and
the problems remained with the League.
Enter Interim
Management Committee
An
Interim Management Committee, IMC was inaugurated to run the League and they
later called themselves the League Management Company.
This
group, led by Nduka Irabor (in pic), a former journalist, now politician and business
man have huffed and puffed for three months but have achieved nothing
whatsoever except enmesh themselves in controversies.
The
League still has no sponsor (please don’t tell me its Globacom as they are yet
to pay up), the clubs still play without appearance fees and the clubs still do
not get a share of the broadcast rights.
What
really has the Nduka Irabor led League Management Company done in four months? They
look to me like Victor Baribote Rumson in disguise.
As
far as I am concerned the League Management Company led by Irabor is just as
bad as the Victor Baribote Rumsen led board.
They
need to go beyond addressing journalists and issuing communiqués and press
releases to actually working.
What
was the point of removing the previous board?
When
we notice a change, we will write about it.

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