Monday, November 28, 2016

Nigeria football at daggers drawn over illegal sharing of NFLL’s N244million

EFCC now a debt recovery agency?
From A. Balogun

With the release by Lagos division of EFCC to NFLL of the sum of N244 million, being money due NFLL from Total Promotions Ltd., in respect of the Premier League’s Broadcasting Right agreement with Total Promotions Ltd, the Nigeria Football world is now in turmoil.

In a proverbial sense, it is said that the day an elephant dies, all sorts of knives, cutlasses, saws etc. surface to carve the elephant.  This aptly depicts the state of the on-going battle by football administrators with regards to the sharing of this money.
To appreciate the sorry debacle, let’s review the genesis.  Larry Kubeinje, who now styles himself as the official Ag. President of NANF alleged in a signed NANF petition to EFCC that Total Promotions Ltd was illegally withholding the sum of N344 million said to be owed the Premier League body for the broadcast right agreement signed between Total Promotions Limited (TPL) and Nigerian Football League Limited (NFLL).

EFCC invited TPL and the summary of the series of interviews is that  TPL is reported to have paid NFLL N244million by way of series of banks drafts.  It is this payment that is now the cause of the battle. Sources from the divided house of NANF close to the negotiation claims that EFCC executives had wanted the draft cheques to the tune of N244million to be drawn in the name of NANF, the petitioner but TPL was alleged to have resisted this advice on the ground that its contract is with NFLL and both in the article and memorandum of association of NFLL and the body of the broadcast right agreement TPL has with NFLL, the name of NANF never featured.
It will seem that remained the position of all parties until a new twist emerged within NANF.  Larry Kubenje and Harrison Ijalla are now said to have fallen bitterly apart.  Harrison now claims he is still the President of NANF and describes Larry Kubenje as an impostor at best.  Kubenje on the other hand, backed by the Legal Adviser of NANF, Belo A. Esq; the powerful Clubs Owners, led by Danladi and Alloy and as rumoured, the League Management Co. Ltd., led by convicted Shehu Dikko and equally convicted Salihu Abubakar is waxing stronger than Ijalla.  Besides, the EFCC’s position is that Kubenje who signed the petition on behalf of NANF as its Ag. President is the head of NANF as far as EFCC is concerned.
With this bitter division within NANF, the football world soon became aware of the payment of this money to NFLL, resulting in the proverbial saying that on the day the elephant dies, different knives will surface.  EFCC, having wrongfully satisfied itself that Baribote and Tunji Babalola who served as NFLL Chairman and Ag. Secretary respectively and were last in office mid 2013/2014 Premier League season, are now, 3 years after, adjudged by EFCC to be legally representing NFLL, a body that had no elected board of directors since December, 2012 when the then board led by Baribote was impeached by Congress of the Premier League Clubs.  EFCC subsequently is said to have then asked Total Promotions Ltd if NFLL is the rightful recipient of the money to which TPL agreed on the grounds that in line with NFLL articles and Memo and its subsisting broadcast right agreement, the money belongs to NFLL.  With this desired cover provided by TPL obtained, EFCC released the bank draft of N244 million to Tunji Babalola/Baribote on behalf of NFLL.
It is said that a long list of so-called former Directors, Chairmen of Clubs, Retired Football Players, Coaches at National Level, former League Club Owners Chairmen, etc emerged in which each name therein submitted all manners of unverified monetary claims to be paid to each person from this NFLL money.  This sordid scenario is deepened with an alleged claim of 20% commission by NANF for writing the petition.  On the face of it, this 20% commission amounts to N48million given the said sum EFCC passed on to NFLL is N244million!  Industry watchers are demanding to know if NANF was formally commissioned to write the petition with fees agreed between it and NFLL, prior to writing the petition!  And which board of NFLL so commissioned as there has been no elected board from 2013 till date.  Given this fact, NANF’s claim to N48million has no legal backing and because of the daggers drawn battle within the NANF camps of Kubenje and Ijalla, it is also pertinent to ask which of these two antagonistic NANF bodies will claim this N48million illegal bonanza!  Who in NANF are the beneficiaries?  Are there shadowy figures who have helped in pushing NANF petition waiting eagerly in the wings to eat up this money.
Football lovers are wondering why, if NFLL has such huge sums of funds available, it cannot pay N100million from it in order to save its Abuja corporate headquarters office building housing its Abuja offices from imminent bank creditors axe!!! Rumours have it that a known Top Executive of the LMC is alleged to have acquired this NFLL building to himself through surrogates hence no mention of the axe dangling on NFLL corporate office nor is there any attempt to push for part-payment from this N244million bonanza in order to save the building!!!!!  Add to this, the tragedy of all sorts of outdated football administrators etc. in a vulture-like manner waiting to swoop on this money to satisfy their selfish, greedy, illegal diversion of this money.  If nothing is done now to stop Zenith bank Abuja, Wuse 2 branch, from honouring the signatures of Babalola and Miss Ester, both of whom last signed NFLL cheque at least 2 years ago after which NFLL Zenith account became dormant, in a matter of days. The money will disappear.  The worrisome intention of the illegal actions of this motley crowd of league football executives inspite of NFLL article and memo, is to move this whole amount of N244million to the Lafia account of Club Owners Association (which other footbsll executives who are in the know say this Lafia account may just have been  recently opened) with the intention to receiving the amount and dividing this loot from there using the signatures of Danladi and Alloy.  If this Lafia attempt is successful, the money will wholly and illegally vanish without the Premier League body’s elected board being given the chance to determine how this money can best be deployed. 

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