My aspiration is to offer the world the vast array of the knowledge and experiences I have garnered as a football player, grassroots football developer, journalist, publisher, promoter, businessman, researcher, marketer, manager, administrator and educationist.
Below is my humble story, a chronology of my credentials that qualify me as the next president of FIFA
1979 to date – I started writing a weekly newspaper column in 1979, the first active Nigerian football player in history to do so, and have maintained it to date.
1984 – At the end of my football career, I joined the media and started reporting football events whilst working as a football consultant/analyst for several international organisations including the BBC, WTN and so on.
1990 – I served as a member of the Professional Football Implementation Committee that drafted and oversaw the takeoff of professional football in Nigeria
1990s – Two times board member of the Nigeria Football Association
1991 – I established a sports company that started with an independent television production unit that produced sports programmes and collaborated with international television stations in Australia, Europe and some parts of Africa to provide contents.
1994 – I was the team manager of the most successful national team in Nigeria’s history – the Green Eagles that played at Tunisia ‘94 and the World Cup, USA ’94.
1992 – I registered as an International Athletes’ Representative with the IAAF. Funded and mentored by me for 4 years, two of the three athletes I managed became Nigeria’s first Olympic Gold and Silver medalists at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics – Chioma Ajunwa and Charity Opara, respectively.
1995 – I joined Sunny Ojeagbase to float a new publishing company – probably Africa’s largest and most successful sports publishing company – Complete Communications Ltd – publishers of a the largest circulating daily sports newspaper in Nigeria – Complete Sports – and a monthly football magazine Complete Football.
1998 to date – I have coordinated the organization of the largest annual grassroots football championship in Nigeria, sponsored by a multinational oil company, with over 60,000 young footballers in secondary schools participating annually. The championship has exposed many young talented players to local clubs, higher institutions and the junior national teams.
1990s to 2003 – The only Nigerian footballer to serve in the Players’ Committee of CAF for 6 years.
2001 – Chairman of the Revival of School Sports in Nigeria Committee
2009 – Chairman of Nigeria Academicals Sports Committee
2000 to 2003 – Chairman of the governing council of the National Institute for Sports.
2001 to date – A consultant to the Nigerian Heart Foundation. This started as a campaign to create awareness for the prevalence of heart-related disease in Nigeria, due largely to the increasing sedentary life style, poor nutrition and lack of facilities for exercise and sports for young people. This has led to more research and experiments using my work and experiences as working models. One of such is an ongoing research project involving 5 African countries on the subject of the ‘Effects of active transport and physical activity on school children in Africa’, with a mission to reduce the menace of non-communicable diseases, and advise urban planners for adequate provision of recreational spaces. This initiative has made me to work with specialists from Mozambique, Kenya, Canada and Nigeria, plus an attendance at Jomo Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya, and Ethiopia, as a resource person at the 13th World Public Health Congress in 2011 with over 4000 medical personnel from across the globe.
2011 – I was invited as one of five resource persons selected from around the world to a conference titled ‘the business of football in Africa’ organised by the School of African Studies of Harvard University Business School, USA.
2003 – I was appointed Chairman of Nigeria’s 2010 World Cup Bid Committee. Until Nigeria conceded her right to South Africa by mutual consent of both governments at that time, Nigeria was on course, to propose to FIFA to host the first ever, regional World Cup with 5 countries in the West Africa sub-region co-hosting the global event. This was my innovative idea that would have radically changed the nature of the bidding process and the hosting of the world’s most prestigious football event – the World Cup.
2004 – I embarked on a national ‘Education + Football = Success’ campaign to revive and promote football in secondary schools and tertiary institutions. Supported by Indomie Noodles, I toured 30 States of Nigeria and distributed 10,000 footballs, hundreds of tracksuits and other football kits to selected schools.
2007 – I established The International Sports Academy, the first and the most ambitious grassroots football project in Nigeria – possibly in Africa. It is a fully residential academic/sports secondary school for students, age 10 to 17. The school has a full academic programme combined with an integrated high-level football development programme for children gifted in football. Beyond Sports Foundation, a UK based charity that supports, promotes and celebrates the use of sport to address social issues in communities around the world nominated the academy in 2011 for an international award for its social impact on the community of Wasimi Orile where the academy is located, and was listed amongst 35 such projects in the world at the time. The Academy is about to establish Africa’s first book and audio/visual library of African football with materials donated by the late Peter Law’s estate – a New Zealander, author and foremost statistician on African football who had a collection of the largest resource [videos, publications, newspapers and magazines] on African football in the world.
17 students from the Academy are now in European and American colleges and universities playing their football and getting a good education. The academy is winning the battle to be a model in combining football and education for African children.
2012 – I was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Sports by Bradley University, Ohio, USA.
2008 to date – I own a football club (Ewekoro United FC) and manage one in the national professional league (First Bank FC).
2007 to date – I am serving my second term as Chairman of Ewekoro Local Government Football Council
In addition, I served in several ministerial and presidential committees, some of which are: Samuel Ogbemudia Sports Committee, General Ishola Williams Sports Committee, and Blueprint for Sports Development in Nigeria Committee, and as a member of the technical sub-committees for some of the international continental events hosted by Nigeria.
I have written and published 4 books on Nigerian football that are now reference material for scholars and journalists in the field. My work also covered marketing and consultancy services on football matters for governments, sports bodies, clubs and corporate organisations. Some of my clients are: The Nigeria School Sports Federation, Globacom Communications Ltd., Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd., Nestle Nigeria Plc., Guinness Nig. Plc., and First Bank of Nigeria Plc.
I strongly believe that my first hand experiences across the various aspects of football have made me one of the most informed and most prepared persons in the world for the highest office in football. With me at the head of FIFA, we can restore the dignity of the game and the credibility of the organization as we make positive contributions that can impact the world through the power of the beautiful game!
I am the man a new FIFA needs.