Dapo Sotuminu, Lagos
Twenty years after the unceremonious impeachment of the Chairman of the Nigeria Football Association, Kojo Williams, facts have emerged on how the youngest ever chairman of the biggest sports federation in Nigeria was lured to his ouster. This was the first and the last time any sitting Chairman of the football federation was impeached.
Barely three months after his ascendancy to the exalted position of the NFA Chairman was supervised by the federal government, in a highly controlled elections in Abuja, the same elements that saw to his victory which costs millions of government money, ensured his speedy removal from office, in a grand design well masterminded by top government sports technocrats (names withheld) who bowed to the pressure from within and without, to save the future of the country’s football following a despotic and obnoxious reign by the young NFA Chairman.
Kojo Williams defeated incumbent chairman, Col. Abdulmumuni Aminu, to become the shortest NFA Chairman to serve in the exalted position after just 90 days.
Kojo Williams in 1999 was the chosen one for Nigeria’s number two citizen, late Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, who was Kojo’s late father’s bossom friend, SB Williams. Despite, not qualifying to contest for the NFA Chairmanship, the young businessman was forced down the throat of the country’s football technocrats.
It was gathered exclusively, that it took just two weeks to plan the impeachment of Kojo Williams few weeks to the Ghana/Nigeria 2000 African Nations Cup competition.
The impeachment masterminds (Names withheld) used the opportunity of the Super Eagles’ preparation for the Nations Cup in Papendal, Holland, to strike and articulate the plans to dump the NFA Chairman, who had became uncontrollable. His harsh words for staff of the NFA was unbearable.
The harsh words had also extended to other football stakeholders across the country as no-one was spared the rod.
The masterminds also capitalised largely on the short temper of the chairman, who believed so much on his aristocratic background as a yardstick for how he should be treated by members of the football family and Nigerians in general. The masterminds exploited this loophole to get the NFA Chairman out of office permanently.
Before, the grand plan, it was gathered that, the masterminds paid an official visit to the Presidential Villa in Abuja. The carefully selected group, met with president Olusegun Obasanjo, to brief him about their plans, especially against a disrespectful NFA Chairman.
President Obasanjo gave his approval, after he was made to understand that, the continued stay of the NFA Chairman in office would cause the country more harm than good.
The president advised that the masterminds should shop for a replacement before the masterstroke.
At this point, General Dominic Oneya was chosen as the man that would bring sanity to the country’s football administration. Oneya, had before now, served as the Military Administrator of Kano state
Initially, he expressed some fears, but he was assured of a smooth take over of power and a very amiable reign in office.
After getting the presidential seal to remove the chairman, who was brought in by government, it was time to strike.
They used the chairman’s intolerance as their weapon of impeachment.
Unknown to Kojo Williams, he asked for a trip to Papendal, Holland to see the level of preparations the Super Eagles were having ahead of the Nations Cup 2000.
The Chairman travelled and funds were released for him as the number one citizen of the association with full estacode.
The NFA Congress was deliberately planned to hold few days after the arrival of the chairman, so that, he could appropriately brief the Congress on the situation of things at the Eagle training camp in Holland.
A date was fixed for the Congress, and the Congress held.
At the Congress flour, a Congress member was asked by the masterminds to ask the chairman in harsh words to give account of how he spent monies approved for him on the trip.
When the Congress member threw the question, the NFA Chairman, who never suspected any foul play, in his usual characteristic lambasted the respondent, causing pandemonium in the Congress flour.
By the time dust raised settled down and the Congress returned to business of the day, one of the Congress members raised his hand and was granted audience. He moved the motion for the impeachment of Kojo Williams as Chairman of the Nigeria Football Association and the motion was expressly supported, sealing the impeachment plan.
This marked the end of the 90 days rule of Kojo Williams as NFA Chairman, the first of such in Nigeria and indeed in Africa.
Immediately after the impeachment, to avoid any lacuna, especially at a time Nigeria was getting ready to co-host the African Nations Cup 2000, General Dominic was nominated, appointed and sworn-in as the new Chairman of the NFA.
General Oneya’s reign as NFA Chairman continued until he was succeeded by Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima.