The crisis plaguing the Nigerian Professional League seems not to have abated as the league’s lower cadre, the Nigerian National League (NNL) is threatening to promote 8 teams into the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) in the incoming season.
The NPFL came to an abrupt end on match day 24 last season following a prolonged crisis that rocked the NFF after the Russia 2018 World Cup declaring the then league leader, Lobi Stars of Markurdi as the winner and an extension of the decision was not to relegate any team from the NPFL for the season.
But a failure to carry along other arms of the league is resulting in the present crisis because the top 8 teams that were supposed to go for the Super Four competition to determine the four teams to be promoted to the NPFL were not decided and the NNL is now threatening to promote the top 8.
The issue came up for discussion at the NFF board meeting in Asaba the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) mandated NNL chairman Chidi Ofor Okenwa to immediately convene a congress of stakeholders to take a decision which would be ratified by the executive committee in a bid to find a lasting solution to the problems associated with NPFL’s abrupt end to the season in week 24.
But in a strange turn of development, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigeria National league NNL, Bukola Olopade, in a telephone conversation with Nigeria Sports Mouthpiece (NSM), regretted the circumstances that led to this unfortunate situation in our football, insisting that there was no going back on the resolution reached at the NNL congress in Abuja.
”At that meeting, the NNL took the decision not to go ahead with the Super 8 which could have paved way for the best four teams to get promoted to the NPFL, Instead, they had decided that all eight teams must get promoted under the present circumstances.
”In supporting that position, the NNL said the Congress of the NPFL did not consult it before arriving at the decision not to relegate any team, meaning they never recognised the fact that whatever decision they took, will have a direct bearing on the NNL. Based on that, the NNL has pressed the war button as they intend to go toe to toe with the LMC, organisers of the NPFL on this matter.
“We cannot be made to swallow their vomit, Olopade said. We have taken our decision and they must learn to live with it. At the last NFF meeting in Asaba, they asked that we go and take a decision in the best interest of the game and whatever decision we take, they will approve. We have done just that and we see no reason why anyone will want to go contrary.”
“If anything is done, different from the decision reached by the NNL congress in Abuja, I, Bukola Olopade will activate my earlier resignation from the position of chief executive officer, CEO of the NNL with immediate effect.”
”Perhaps you don’t know that I resigned five months ago but was persuaded to stay on by my good friend Amaju Pinnick, till the end of the season.
”I have been asking a few questions and will not stop asking:
- Why did the LMC end the league to go to Russia for the World Cup?
- Why on earth did they decide to end the season abruptly?
- Why did they decide not to relegate any of the 20 teams in the division? Why didn’t they consult us, if they know that we are partners in progress?
- Why must the NNL bear the brunt of their actions or inactions?
- Where did the NNL go wrong in all of these?
“It is only when they provide answers to my many questions that I will take them seriously, if not, we stand by our decision to promote eight teams and there is no going back on that,” he concluded.