Chairman of the local organizing committee for the Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Tournament, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi has expressed the determination of the committee to utilize fully the opportunity provided by the staging of the competition to boldly underscore Nigeria’s competence in organization of major events.
Speaking on Tuesday in Abuja, the debonair legal luminary and football administrator of note said he was satisfied with the calibre of men and women in the organizing team and “the only work we have now is to harness the expertise, knowledge, experience and skills of the various individuals to impact on the key areas of the organization, to deliver a first –grade tournament.”
Nigeria will host a Six-Nation tournament in the name of the country’s First Lady 14th – 20th September in Lagos, with host Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Morocco, Cameroon and Mali set to duel in a celebratory atmosphere. The six countries are arguably the strongest women football –playing countries on the African continent.
“It is a long time that our country hosted a major championship.
Although this is an invitational, we have a responsibility to activate everything needed for a first –grade championship and uphold the excellent virtues for which our country’s First Lady is known.
Organizing a top event will also come with high recommendation for our country to host bigger events soonest, now that we have remarkable stadia infrastructure across the nation.
“It is all about putting our minds to it, being focused on the small details and the huge points, and giving it our best.”
Nigeria has not hosted a major football championship since staging the 24 –nation FIFA U17 World Cup finals 12 years ago.
Before then, the country hosted the Africa Cup of Nations finals in 1980, co-hosted the same event with Ghana 20 years later, hosted the FIFA U20 World Cup in 1999 and staged the multi-sport All-Africa Games in 1973 and 2003. She also played host to the Women Africa Cup of Nations in 1998, 2002 and 2006.
“It is a new era with limitless opportunities and possibilities with rapidly advancing technology and increasing capacities in science and the arts. Nothing can be ruled out as the world is on the move. We have a country teeming with capable and knowledgeable people, and there is no reason we cannot aim high,” Akinwunmi said.
Members of the committee include its chairman, a lawyer of 35 years post-bar experience, Seyi Akinwunmi who is 1st Vice President of the Nigeria Football Federation and Chairman of the Lagos State Football Association. A keen enthusiast and enabler of grassroots football, he also served as member of CAF Committee on Youth Competitions and Organizing Committee for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Ibrahim Musa Gusau is Chairman of Chairmen of NFF and member of the Organizing Committee of the African Nations Championship. He is also Chairman of the Zamfara State Football Association and a CAF Security Officer.
Aisha Falode, Director of Organization, is Chairman of the Nigeria Women Football League and Member of the NFF Executive Committee. She served on the CAF Media Committee and is a renowned broadcast journalist.
Amina Daura, deputy director of organization, is a UNICEF ambassador. Educated in England, she has over 15 years experience in women’s football organization, stakeholder management and funding, and is NFF’s Head of Women’s Football.
Dr Mohammed Kamal is technical assistant, Presidential Economic Advisory Council and is representing the Office of the First Lady of the Federal Republic.
Hon. Ayo Hulayat Omidiran is a three-time Member of the House of Representatives, women’s football financier and Chairman of the NFF Women’s Football Committee. She also served on the FIFA Committee for Youth Competitions.
Rt. Hon. Margaret Icheen was Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly and is Chairman of the Benue State Football Association.
Assistant Inspector General of Police Umar Baba is highly respected in football circles for his enormous work in stadium safety and security, and is Nigeria’s Interpol Officer. Has led several discreet investigation and extradition teams of major fleeing figures, and has robust passion for the women’s game.
Ufuoma McDermott is a French-speaking A-list Nollywood actress, producer and compere, while Kemi Areola is an information technology guru and special assistant to the Youth and Sports Development Minister.
Ademola Olajire has 30 years post-degree experience in journalism and media management, is NFF’s Director of Communications and also a CAF Media Officer. Kola Daniel is a seasoned journalist and media aide to the Youth and Sports Development Minister.
Star broadcaster Chisom Ezeoke served on the CAF Women’s Football Committee, and Olayinka Olagbemiro is a former football player, technical expert and tactician with certificates in marketing and strategic management.
Ese Okpomo, bi-lingual daughter of three-time Secretary General of then Nigeria Football Association and respected CAF instructor and commissioner Patrick Okpomo (of blessed memory), has 15 years experience in bi-lingual support and advisory work at international level.
Ruth David, who is the secretary, is the NFF’s Ag. Director of Competitions and has a master’s degree in sports management, while her assistant, Mohammed Ameenu is a FIFA –trained instructor, CAF referee assessor and special assistant to the NFF General Secretary.