Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his government’s anti-corruption stance during a meeting with International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) president Gianni Infantino at the State House in Abuja on Monday.
According to Buhari, Nigeria fully supported the FIFA president’s reform agenda, noting that they were similar to those his presidency had outlined to resuscitate Nigeria.
“Accountability is serious business and I welcome you (Infantino) into the club of accountable Chief Executive Officers,” the President said.
We will take the development of football very seriously and I encourage the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to behave itself and organise effective competitions for the good of the game.
The FIFA president and his Secretary General, Fatouma Samoura, accompanied by the president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, were at the presidency as part of the FIFA delegations’ two-day official visit.
President Muhammadu Buhari said his administration will pay keen interest to accountability and transparency to fast-track football development in the country.
Infantino since his election as president of football world governing body outlined a programme to reform the game through transparency, anti-corruption and good governance.
“We will take the development of football very seriously and I encourage the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to behave itself and organise effective competitions for the good of the game,” he said.
Buhari congratulated the two global football chiefs on their election to office. He reserved particular praise for Samoura, the first African and female to be elected FIFA Secretary-General.
Buhari further challenged football administrators to fashion out strategic programmes to develop the game which he said most Nigerians were married to.
“Majority of Nigerians are married to football. In the rural areas, when there is no electricity and there is a game to watch, Nigerians go to the extent of renting small generators, popularly known as ‘I better-pass-my neighbour’ to watch the game.”
On his part, Infantino tasked Nigerian authorities to pay attention to infrastructure and find a lasting solution to the problem of violence and insecurity at match venues.
“I foresee Nigeria as a bedrock for the development of the game in Africa, however infrastructure, stability and security are needed to make this happen,” he said.
Aside the NFF president, the FIFA officials were accompanied by Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Barr. Solomon Dalung, and the President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Engr. Habu Gumel.