England-based football scout, Ese Udoko, in this interview with KELVIN EKERETE alleges that his son, Ogaga, was unjustly dropped from the Golden Eaglets squad at the ongoing Brazil 2019 U-17 World Cup for Abba Abichi, son of the Director-General, Department of State Service, Bichi Magaji, after helping the team qualify for the World Cup. Is it true that your son Ogaga Oduko was dropped for Abba Bichi, son of the DSS boss, Bichi Magaji? It is true.
My son Ogaga was substituted for Bichi Magaji’s son, Abba Bichi, and there is no other way we can point otherwise. Those coaches are the ones destroying Nigerian football. I believe the officials from the top are corrupt as well. It is affecting Nigerian football.
The less-privileged kids cannot genuinely represent their country without having a godfather. But there is a claim that you are just an agent to Ogaga and not his father… (Cuts in) Ogaga is my adopted son. He lost both parents at the age of 10.
I came to Nigeria to do my scouting programme in 2016 for less-privileged talented kids across four states in Nigeria. The final selection was held in Lagos. He borrowed money to come and there I spotted him. He told me his story and I have been taking care of him in my academy since then, along with his two siblings.
How long was your son in the U-17 camp? I took him for the U-17 trials and he passed. He has been with the team for a long time. He went with them to Tanzania (U-17 AFCON, qualifiers for the World Cup). He was the one that lost the last penalty in the semi-final 10-9 defeat to Guinea in Tanzania.
They refused to feature him in the third-place game because of that and the Eaglets lost the match. He is an attacking midfielder, better than what they have in that midfield, but the coaches told me that they would convert him to left-back, as they don’t have one.
And that is the only way he can make the team. I told my son to adapt and because of his talent, he adapted and since then he has been with the U-17. Do you think he was dropped because he wasn’t good enough? Not at all. When Ogaga was with the national team, he worked hard and merited it. I was about bringing him to the United Kingdom, but I had not finalised the adoption process then.
After the process, I felt that he should take a shot at the national team and that will qualify him to play in England. And also, the other players can see that hard work and dedication with your talent can take you to the top. He has been with the team until they came back from Tanzania. During their two months break.
I asked for his passport, so he can apply for UK visa, as Arsenal wanted to see him. I told the coach, but they refused to give me his passport. The excuse was that they don’t want to lose him. They felt that if he joined a club in England, he would not want to come back and play for the national team.
The boy was angry but I encouraged him to bear it. Is there evidence that he was dropped directly for Bichi?
He traveled to Turkey for the tournament before travelling to Brazil with the team, but at the last minute he was dropped and was replaced with a player I now believe is the son of the head of security service in Nigeria because the NFF wanted to avoid corruption charges. So, they have to curry the head of security by bringing his son and other officials’ children and dropping talented players who don’t have any backing. I did not know the politics that was played, because I was not there. I know that boy was nowhere before, and suddenly at the last minute he replaced a regular player.
Some are of the opinion that Ogaga was dropped because he wasn’t a regular in Manu Garba’s squad… My boy is a regular, the only match he did not play (in Tanzania) they lost. There is no way you can tell me that they have another excuse for dropping a regular player. I chatted with the coaches and their excuse was that it is a group decision.
I know other players were dropped as well. I felt for my boy and the others, but I need to point this injustice out. It has been going on in the national team camp for too long. He has been with the team for months. Ogaga was in Tanzania and Turkey. He also made the final list of 25 to Brazil. Did anyone at any point request for money from you to include Ogaga in the Eaglets’ U-17 World Cup squad? They requested for money before they went to Tanzania.
I refused to give anything. I told them, ‘let his talent make way for him.’ After using the boy to qualify, they dropped him without thinking. I know this situation might make my relationship with some Nigeria Football Federation members dented. I have set up a youth league currently running in Nigeria in four states. Having gone through this experience, would you still allow Ogaga play for Nigeria in the future? This is what I’m fighting for.
I want a situation where talented players in Nigeria can represent their country on merit. I have a mission to raise players with their right ages for the national team to win the 2020 World Cup. This is a big challenge for me moving forward with the mandate. I will still allow him play for Nigeria. These people will not be there forever
What does the future hold for Ogaga now? He will be coming for trials with a Premier League club I don’t want to reveal now. Arsenal will still have their eyes on him. They were actually coming to watch him in BraziL. He would have been drafted straight away into their U-19 squad if he had played at the world Cup. A Premier League club is waiting for Ogagga already, but they want me to bring him to the UK first. How can this issue of dropping better qualified players for more influential players be addressed? The youth football structure needs to be well organised.
The country should be able to watch young players from the age of 15. This is why I am running a youth league in Nigeria. Once coaches make their 25-man list, the regular players selected initially should not be dropped; rather the coaches should adjust a player who is not performing well to the bench.
A regular player can only be dropped if they commit a serious offence. When a regular player is omitted from the team rather than dropping them to the bench, it should be questioned and looked into by independent professionals, rather than the officials.
State Of Nation: Jesus Would Not Be Silent If He Were In Nigeria – Obasanjo
Former Head of State and Nigeria’s first civilian president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has come out once again to speak on the situation of the country, urging Christians to stick together or risk being devoured.
Obasanjo, 82, while at the 64th annual national convention of the Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria held at the church’s campground in Ajebo, Ogun State, urged all Christians to speak truth to power just like Jesus would have done if he were in the country today.
The church event also featured the appointment of the new General Overseer of the church, Rev. Samuel Aboyeji, who took over from the immediate-past General Overseer, Rev. Felix Meduoye, and thousands of people gathered at the church to see the former military dictator speak about Christ.
He said to the congreagation; “As Christians, we have to be like Christ as we are transformed into the likeness of Christ or little like Christ.
“So, in all positions, situations, and events, we should be guided. “If Christ was in this position, in this situation or in this event, what would he have done? “We have a lot to do in the situation we found ourselves in this country today. And make no mistake about it, if we don’t get together and stay together, we would be devoured and that we should not take lightly.
For me, if Christ was in Nigeria today, He would not keep quiet. He would say it as it should be said. He would speak truth to power. He would have no fear and He would have no intimidation.
“Children of God, you have a responsibility to do and say what Jesus Christ would have done and said if He was in Nigeria today.”
Perm Secretary, Wife, 2 Kids Burn To Death In Benue
The Acting Permanent Secretary, Benue State Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology, Mr Seker Akaa, his pregnant wife and two kids were on Monday burnt to death in a fire incident in Makurdi.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Benue, DSP Sewuese Anene who confirmed the incident to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said the fire started at about 2.40 a.m at Kwarafa Quaters, Makurdi.
NAN reports that three other flats were also burnt including the resident of Evangelist Daniel Unongo, Chaplain of Benue Government House, who is also Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Samuel Ortom on Religion. Anene said Mr Akaa, his pregnant wife, Linda, two children; Sender and Tertsegh Akaa, all occupants of Flat 1 were burnt to death during the fire disaster. She said that the dead bodies had been deposited at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Makurdi mortuary.
The police spokesperson stated that the cause of the fire was yet to be known, adding that “investigation into the matter had already commenced”. Reacting to the development, the Deputy Governor, Mr Benson Abounu, who visited the scene, expressed shock at the level of destruction and loss of human lives. According to Abounu, it is black day for Benue and the state has lost a prized asset in Mr. Akaa. He prayed God to give the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
“We cannot undo what has happened. At the moment, the government will take responsibility for their burial and assist the other families to relocate. We warn against any looting of property.” Abounu said The Commissioner, Energy, Science Technology, Dr Godwin Oyiwona also confirmed the incident and expressed the ministry’s deepest condolences.
NAN also gathered from an eyewitness who refused to be named, that the fire started in flat 1 the residence of the late acting permanent secretary. He said the perm sec and his family would have been saved but because of the incessant cases of armed robbery recorded within the neighbourhood the neighbours thought it was armed robbers that were operating again.
Actually the fire started at Mr Akaa’s house, we would have saved him and his family but we thought it was armed robbers that were again attacking us.
You see armed robbers attack us here regularly. So, we have adopted ways of self-defense by providing burglary protection on the doors to prevent them from getting easy access inside, that too caused delay of getting to them on time,” it said. The witness said firefighters from Benue Government House, Makurdi, came to the scene on time but they had little to do to save them. Eyewitnesses said it might have been caused by an electrical fault as it razed down the entire house and extended to three other houses.
KogiDecides: Yahaya Bello Wins Guber Polls With 406,222 Votes
The Candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Alhaji Yahaya Bello appears to won the Kogi State governorship election held in the state last Saturday. But the Independent Electoral Commission is yet to officially announce the final result of the election.
Bello who is the incumbent Governor of the state won 12 local government councils while his closest rival, Engr. Musa Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, won 9 local government councils.
The results of the election as declared by INEC are as follows:
Ogori Magongo APC 3,679 PDP 2,145 Ijumu LGA APC 11 425 PDP 7,587 Omala LGA APC 8,473 PDP 14,403 Adavi LGA APC 64,657 PDP 366 Igalamela/Odolu APC 8,075 PDP 11,195 Okene LGA APC 112,764 PDP 139 Kabba-Bunu APC 15,364 PDP 8,084 Kogi/Koton-Karfe APC 14,097 PDP 9,404 Yagba East APC 6,735 PDP 7,546 Okehi LGA APC 36,954 PDP 478 Mopamoro APC 4,953 PDP 3,581 Idah LGA APC 4,602 PDP 13,962 Ajaokuta APC 17,952 PDP 5,565 Olamaboro APC 16,876 PDP 8,155 Yagba West APC 7,868 PDP 8,860 Ankpa PDP-28,108 APC-11,268 Ofu APC-11006 PDP-12,264 Bassa LG APC -8386, PDP-9724 Ibaji APC 12,682 PDP 10,504 Dekina APC 8,948 PDP 16,575 Lokoja APC 19, 457 PDP 11, 059
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