Re: NFF Query Of Mr.Stephen Keshi My Brother For Attending The Tom Tom (Sponsors Of The Super Eagles) Event And “Allegedly ‘’ Over Staying His Leave
It is now public knowledge that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) issued my brother Mr. Stephen Keshi a query, because ''somebody' in the federation leaked the query and the letter approving his leave to the media. The purpose no doubt is to demonize him and possibly, convince the general public that 'he is uncontrollable'', disrespectful and that their actions is patriotic. I have also read some commentators both 'genuine' and 'imaginary' say that the agenda to stop him from going to the world cup is still on, albeit he has inadvertently fallen into a well orchestrated trap laid for him by some persons out to undo him. However, there is need to note the followings:-
1. My brother Mr. Stephen Keshi has stated times severally that his trust is in God alone. And that if it is the will of God that he will lead the Super Eagles to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, he will. But if on the contrary, there is absolutely nothing anybody can do about it. Hence those that are hell bent on destroying his name should come to terms with this fact. Maybe this will reduce the unnecessary crisis that has engulfed the polity of late. Unfortunately for this ''tinny minority'', the best interest of Nigeria, hardly counts in their actions. We are living witnesses to 2010, when a coach that qualified the team was dropped and a ''world cup'' coach was contracted. Like they say the rest is history.
2. Luckily enough, my brother as a thorough bred who upholds the interest of the nation, has replied the query ,but would not make his reply public, like what the ''tinny minority'' had done, because he has no problem with the Federation. I know as a matter of fact that some people ''believe'' that they have a problem with him. It is this same ''tinny minority'' that was already peddling the rumor that he won't reply the query, after all he is ''bigger'' than the Federation.
3. Our late parents brought us up to respect any person that we come in contact with, but ''never to fear''. Which is why every member of the family is pained whenever these false allegations that he is rude, indiscipline, arrogant etc. are made. It is a known fact that my brother as captain of the Super Eagles for 14 years and at various times coach of the team is passionate about the team. Hence he has spent the last 3 years rebuilding the team from the scratch. He has discovered new players in the process and has refused to ''behave'' like the foreign coaches, who come in barely a week to a match and take off immediately the match is over. He has refused to embark on so called monitoring of our players scattered in Europe. I know some people are not happy about this. He has not only saved the Federation money, but has through winning the African Cup of Nations, participating in the Con- federation cup and CHAN, won for the Federation more than $4 million USD - about N600million.
4. I assure those hell bent on destroying him, that they can't and won't succeed. My brother has a good heart. They say he is stubborn, but what they refuse to tell Nigerians is that he is stubborn in what he believes is right for the team. But for his ''stubbornness'' Joseph Yobo and Vincent Enyema would not have been part of the team to the 2012 African Cup of Nations. The reason is that the ''tinny minority'' described them as old and unlucky.
5. On the issue of his leave, I took pains to ask a friend in the office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, on what obtains if someone during his leave is recalled back to work. I was informed that the person is entitled to those days. In the case of my brother while on leave he was in Brazil for a FIFA workshop. During the leave he also went for the match against Mexico. I think it is only fair that he takes those extra days that are legitimately his, since the federation never monetized it as demanded by the extant public service laws. I stand to be corrected.
6. About being absent from the reception by Mr. President. Those that know my brother know that he is a family man. Having spent more than four (4) months in Nigeria, he was eager to go see his family and come back to prepare for the World Cup. He talked this over with Alhaji Aminu Maigari, the president of the federation, who encouraged him to ''go see my daughter''. To avoid this same crisis that we are confronted with, he quietly asked me to pay for his ticket- it is common knowledge that he is still being owed backlog of salary arrears up till now. By the terms of his contract, it is the duty of the NFF to buy his return tickets. Knowing that after CHAN there wasn't really any assignment he bought his ticket which cannot be changed. Changing it would have meant losing the over 1million Naira paid for the ticket. And after CHAN there were no clear indications that the team would be hosted by Mr. President. There is no way my brother would have deliberately travelled to spite Mr. President, whom he holds in high esteem. I know this issue was made part of the query, so as to cause disaffection between him and Mr. President. Many members of the federation believe he wines and dines with Mr. President. This ''special relationship'' which only exists in their imagination worries many of them, so portraying him in bad light as rude and disrespectful to Mr. President would make Mr. President hate him and buy into their ''unholy plot''.
Let me state this for the record, my brother respects the person and office of Mr. President. He would have loved to ''wine and ''dine'' with Mr. President like Nwakwo Kanu and the Nollywood Stars, but has kept a safe distance so that ''some little minds'' desperate to cut him down would let him be.
7. On the meeting with the technical committee, it is on record that since after CHAN the chairman of the Committee Barrister Christopher Green insisted on him defending the list for the world cup. While on the plane from South Africa, he told whoever cares to listen that Keshi must defend his list(Green did not know I was sitting on the same row with Dr.Ikpeme,so it is not that I was told). In the opinion of my brother, this was rather too early in day. But as usual a mountain has been made of the issue, which is really not an issue.
While on holidays I know he spoke severally with Dr. Ikpeme, the Director Technical, on the date for the meeting. But common sense dictates that you don't fix a meeting without all or at least most members agreeing on the date and time, especially for someone in far away United States. The meeting was fixed,before he was informed of the date.Every effort to talk things over with Barrister Green,the new war lord of Nigeria football was unsuccessful - because Barrister Green refused to pick his calls. We can ask the networks for his call log/transcription of his discussions with some members of the Federation.
8. My brother Stephen Keshi promised to make every effort to be in Abuja on the 26th March, 2014. And he did. Eventually he was informed that the meeting had been moved to sometime in April. If it is not to achieve pre-determined objectives - of scandalizing him, why will Barrister Green issue him a query on this issue? This query is the brain child of Barrister Green. But query simply means explain, so there is no big deal to it. My appeal to Barrister Green is stop pretending to be my brother's friend.They don't have to be friends.But I want to assure him(Green) that as a free born of Illah,my brother will never kow to to him.
9. The Tom-Tom event. It is part of the sponsored package for the Super Eagles. He honoured that event as part of his contract terms. Coaches before him had attended the event. I know as a fact that he asked the organizers about the absence of NFF officials and he was informed that it was an event for the coach. How would my brother ever have known that Tom-Tom a world class company reportedly did not clear the event with the Federation? We talked about the implication of him not attending and decided that he should, as the event was to drum up support for the team.
10. It is big pity that Tom-Tom, one of the sponsors of the federation would be treated in this manner, simply because someone is hell bent on getting at Stephen Keshi, my brother.
It is a case of cutting your nose to spite your face. And this is the problem in this senseless crisis. The Federation attracts unnecessary insults to itself. Do they read online postings? In these murky waters of marketing, sourcing for sponsors has always been a herculean task for Nigerian sports, hence subjecting the few ones we have to open embarrassment, calls our true motives and intentions to question.
11. Finally, I must end this statement by thanking Alhaji Aminu Maigari for his trust in my brother's capability when some of this ''tinny minority'' didn't see the light. What my brother owes him is to justify his faith in him. I must advise Mr. President to always watch his back. It is not Keshi that they are after. You never can tell who will be a victim of the crisis some people are pushing you into.
12. My appeal. We don't need these distractions. Let us focus on giving a good account at the World Cup. My brother has just four(4)months to go and those who want to hire ''world class'' coach can bring him.I will support whatever decision he takes after the World Cup,but I will most certainly vote for him to move on.
31st March, 2014