A consultant to the Nigeria Football Supporters Club (NFSC) led by Mr. Vincent Okumagba, Mr. Umar Mohammed has said that the ‘illegal activities’ of the former chairman, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo had been showcasing the Club in a bad light.
Speaking in Lagos, Mr. Mohammed disclosed that for over two decades, Ladipo had held the Club down creating an impression that he was using his personal and financial resources, which is ‘not true’.
“How can he be using his finances all these years, yet he has refused to leave the club despite the incessant criticisms and negative invectives from club member and the public against him,” Mohammed said in an email to The Guardian yesterday.
He pointed out that the club has suffered Ladipo’s leadership illegal arbitrariness for so long until the likes of Vincent Okumagba and a few other progressive members decided to put an end to his impunity and inject a breath of fresh air into the club.
“Ladipo had this long standing scheme of perpetrating himself in office and along with some of his gullible members. He has scuttled several moves in the past to hold proper elections. But when he was boxed into a corner, he connived with the same cronies to amend the constitution of the Nigeria Football and others Sports Supporters Club having failed in his bid to use NFSC and made himself the President General for life and this has become an albatross that is weighing down the club and causing confusion all over the place.”
According to Mohammed, visa racketeering under his reign was taken to a ridiculous extent and by the time he became the self-acclaimed President General, the image, respect and integrity of the club has being badly dented.
“I recall that at USA 1994 World Cup how many of the members he took to the World Cup returned to Nigeria. When the United States Embassy invited him for explanation, Ladipo gave them an excuse that he granted them permission to visit their families. But they never returned to Nigeria.”
“Recently the same Ladipo defied the directives of the Sports Minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung to hold the protracted elections of the club in Abuja. He went on to gang up with some loyalist to conduct an illegal and Kangaroo election in Lagos, which was eventually not recognized or accepted by the sports ruling authorities including the NFF. Ladipo claimed that the government cannot give him such orders because the club is a none governmental organization and I ask him under what platform is the Club operation and thriving?
“The Club is using the name Nigeria and the teams we are supporting are Nigerian teams. We get visas through the recommendation of the NFF under supervision of the Sports Ministry. So, what is he talking about?. He lied that the Sports Minister gave him the go ahead for the Lagos election and how come the same Minister sent a director, Mrs. Tayo Oreweme to come and conduct our election in Abuja?.”
Ladipo has, however, stated that Okumagba is not the chairman of the Supporters Club, insisting yesterday that all members of the board and Elders Council recognize Rev. Samuel Ikpea as the dully elected National Chairman.