As part of its effort to finally repeal the NFA Act 2004 and enact NFF Bill 2016, the Senate Committee on Youth and Sports on Monday held a public hearing at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja.
President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who was represented by the Senate Minority Whip, Senator Philip Aduda, noted that “the positive energy that resonates among Nigerians from everywhere when a Nigerian team is in action is testament to the special attachment that our people have for the game”, and that “the Bill seeks to make the NFF an autonomous agency with less government interference”, while praising the efforts of Chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports, Senator Obinna Ogba, on the new Bill.
Senator Ogba, alongside Committee members Senators Eyinnaya Abaribe and Samuel Anyanwu, listened to submissions from the Minister of Youth and Sports, Barr. Solomon Dalung, NFF President Amaju Pinnick, NFF 2nd Vice President/LMC Chairman Shehu Dikko, former FIFA Executive Committee member Dr. Amos Adamu, Vice President of CAF Appeal Board Amanze Uchegbulam and Shuaibu Gara Gombe.
In his opening remark, Senator Ogba, a former NFF Vice President, stated that the objective of repealing the Act and enacting the Bill is “to see Nigeria return to its rightful place among the 10 best football –playing nations in the world and number one in Africa”, while Minister Dalung revealed that the Government is determined to make football a national asset. Dalung also disclosed that the commitment of the Government presently is to fund grassroots sports, while elite athletes should fund themselves from what they generate at the station they have reached, thus allowing scarce resources to go into discovering new talents.
Mazi Uchegbulam, also a former NFF Vice President, traced the history of NFF Statutes and efforts to repeal the Act, and submitted that it was pertinent to give the NFF Congress the power to be able to amend the regulatory instrument without recourse to the National Assembly.
Dr. Adamu, chief organizer of the 8th All-Africa Games Abuja 2003 and a former Director General of the National Sports Commission, supported the enactment of the new Bill, and was of the opinion that Government could decide to also give the NFF grant time and again before the Federation attains real financial independence.
NFF President Amaju Pinnick praised the Senate Committee on Youth and Sports for its firm commitment to the Bill, while assuring that the sentiments of Government, private sector, FIFA, CAF and the Nigerian ball fan were all taken into consideration in the document submitted by the Federation.
Also at the hearing were the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. Chinyeaka Ohaa, NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi and some members of NFF Management.