Owner of Nigeria National League side FC One Rocket, Otuekong Nse Essien, has declared his interest to run for one of the coveted seats in the Nigeria Football Federation ahead of the 2022 NFF elections on September 30.
The Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly member, who is vying to represent the South-South in the forthcoming dispensation, purchased the electoral form – sold for N250,000 – for contestants for the board membership position, on Monday, in Abuja.
Essien, who is also the founder of Uyo-based CARABANA Football Academy, said he was driven by his desire for sports development and believes the South-South needs capable representation on the board of the NFF.
“The South-South always has a lot to offer when it comes to sports, on-and-off the pitch. My immediate constituency Akwa Ibom State and indeed the South-South in general is blessed with sporting talents that must properly be showcased. I am hoping to get on the board to help offer more opportunities for exposure and effective engagement of my people,” Essien said.
“Personally, I have been at the forefront of harnessing football talents in Akwa Ibom through my academy and professional club, which incidentally produced the most outstanding player for the Flying Eagles at the last WAFU tournament. I am also a man with concepts and contacts – national, continental, and globally, which when utilised, would help turn around the fortunes of our region.”
“We are proud of the strides of our brother Amaju Pinnick from Delta, and the late Emmanuel Ibah, before his demise. But there’s certainly more to be done in terms of development of talents and infrastructure in the region. Indeed, Ibah’s passing constituted a hindrance to development from this region, as we couldn’t have adequate representation, which I hope to rectify when elected into office.”
Essien said he would promote the development of grassroots football, private sector ownership of clubs, and inter-state football competitions in the region to enable the young talents excel in the South-South region and the country.
“It’s time for a paradigm shift from the norm. We need to take Nigerian football from the state it is at the moment, to measure up to global football standards. The desperation for three points should stop taking the place of fair play and football development. Government and the private sector should know their positions, in order to make the local league especially thrive. There is indeed a lot to do and it needs bold individuals like me to achieve this. I promise to put up the best representation for our region.”