Nigerian football: What has Nduka Irabor's LMC achieved?


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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