Many years after their stewardships, not much has been heard about these former public servants who gave their best in the service of their fatherland and it is not clear where they could be and/or what they are doing presently. ELEOJO IDACHABA writes.
Alhaji Sani Lulu Abdullahi was the president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). He was former FCT director of sports before upstaging Buba Galadima to become NFF president in 2006. His tenure as NFF president was cut short as he was impeached by the board in 2010. The alleged offence bothered on conspiracy and breach of due process in contravention of the Public Procurement Act over the purchase of two Marcopolo buses. Because of this, the former NFF boss alongside other top officials of the football house were accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of breaching due process in the purchase of those buses for which they were arraigned in October 2010. The case which dragged for a few years however ended, an indication that this former NFF boss merely suffered from witch-hunting.
While responding to all of these shortly before his acquittal, Abdullahi said, “I must at this point appreciate everyone who has been standing by me in the face of my predicament since the injustice I suffered in 2010. I believe in justice and those who for their desperate interests to sabotage our efforts truncated our passionate visions, they would meet their doom and know no peace.
“However at this point, I wish to state categorically that I’m not interested in returning as NFF president. I have had the chance and never left anything at the Glass House. Though I was aggrieved with how I was illegally impeached by those who were trusted to have shared in the visions of developing the game.
“Football is a game I love with passion and my achievements when I was the NFF president before I was forcefully impeached are still very visible and there for everyone to see. Nobody can disclaim the fact that we did revive the game from its dead state.
“It pains me most when many Nigerians were blindfolded from realising the positive contributions we made towards the growth of the game of football in the country due to some people’s personal interests.
“No hard feelings as I have since then moved on, but will continue to pray for justice to prevail. Justice delayed is not justice denied. No matter how long, I will wait for justice as I’m not guilty of any corruption charges.”
Lulu who is now a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was said to have set his eyes on Lugard House in the 2019 governorship election of Kogi state, but could not fly beyond his expression of interest.
Ima Niboro was the managing director of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) during the latter days of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration before he was removed from office. He was before then Jonathan’s special adviser on media.
Originally, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he however defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2016.
Mr. Niboro explained that he dumped the PDP for the APC because of the alleged poor and decaying state of infrastructure in his home state, Delta; therefore, intended to align himself with stakeholders in the state and at the centre for rapid development. “My membership of the APC is true. It is not a sudden switch. I have had eighteen months to study the situation as it concerned my ward, local government, community and even my state.
“I have to conclude that there is time for everything. This is the time for us in Delta to link up with the federal government in order to bring development to our land.
“We cannot at this critical point of our history be left out of federal government’s development agenda. There is no synergy between Delta state and the federal government and we cannot achieve that synergy when we are working at cross-purposes. We must work together to achieve that synergy,” he said.
However, since he joined the ruling party, not much has been heard about him as far as the political calculation of the country is concerned.
Victor Oyofo once represented the people of Edo North Senatorial District in the Senate between 1999 and 2007 for two terms, but failed in his bid to return the third time. During his second tenure, he was appointed as the chief whip. Also, while in the Senate, he was among the lawmakers with loud voice during plenary. To that extent, he was prominent in many committees of the Senate like petroleum, solid minerals, environment, and police affairs, Niger Delta, among others.
Oyofo as a lawmaker never hid his disdain for states creation as he noted that the proliferation of states in the country would bring further financial burden on the government that was battling over a lean purse. He was of the belief that, “In addressing the internal architecture of the federation, we must do what is obvious. This means consolidating our gains and formalising them into laws. It is clear that states have to be viable, but a situation where states are created to rely on the revenue from the federal government is not a viable option and when deeply considered, it’s a sin.”
He lost his position as chief whip, and thus ceased to be one of the principal officers of the Senate. Reflecting on the leadership position in the country after he failed to return the third time, he said in what he titled: ‘Letter to Nigerians’ that, “Out of love, I am prompted to write this to my fellow citizens and those who find themselves in leadership positions everywhere whether in government, religious or in any human organisation where there are fiduciary and financial responsibilities to the populace. Often, one hears statements like, ‘it is God who gives powers. Since all powers belong to God, this statement is true, but I must insert that the ‘devolved power’ is to be used for the good of everyone. Any misuse brings terrible consequences on the abusers and all their accomplices. This every leader must also bear the main responsibility for that which he mismanages due to his wrong attitude.”
Since 2007 when this strong member of the Grail Movement Nigeria left the Senate, nothing has been heard of him again as he has not made any attempt to return to any public office. He was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).