The president of the Squash Referees’ Association (Nigeria), Bola Mogaji is under severe pressure to step down. Alhaji Mogaji has been accused of withholding on to power unfairly. Also, complaints relating to poor refereeing in squash emanated from the just-concluded National Sports Festival (NSF), Abuja 2018.
Some players and a stakeholder who spoke exclusively to Top Media Nigeria on condition of anonymity bemoaned the general standard of officiating at the Festival, particularly the men’s singles final between Adewale Amao and Abdulrahaman Lanre Yusuff, both of Team Lagos. Some allege that the victor, Yusuff was favoured.
The election for a new executive ought to have been conducted, accusers fume as well.
This year, the trio of Amos Haruna, Tinu Adebayo and Seun Peters were suspended for two years for officiating in the prestigious Chamberlain Squash Open ‘without the organization’s blessing’.
One stakeholder comments:
“You see, all these old crooks, they don’t want to leave. That is the problem we are facing. Even the coaches election (on the 14th of December, 2019) that we had, they didn’t want us to have it. So, we have to do it and have new exco. Because the coaches don’t really have an association. The forum was formed some few years ago. So, we were able to succeed in doing that one.
“The board’s tenure has elapsed since four years ago. They’ve been there since 2012. They suppose to spend two years for a tenure. The man (Bola Mogaji) has spent six years without re-election.
“Looking at the whole thing, Mogaji doesn’t want to leave.”
— Top Media Nigeria (@TopMediaNigeria) December 15, 2018
Meanwhile, Mogaji counters, saying that is not the case. Your distinguished online information platform, Top Media Nigeria reached him and the Kwara-born squash adherent has this to say:
“I am tired myself! If I have done all I have done in my capacity as president, I want someone else to continue. And I have been encouraging the younger ones. Any tournament that we go now, if I invite two senior ones, I would invite two younger ones so that they can learn and take over.”
Explaining that the organization have the intent of conducting election, Mogaji blamed lack of National Sports Festival for not forming a new executive.
“Presently, I am the president of the referees. I was elected in year 2012. And since 2012, there have been no Sports Festival. What we intended doing is that every Sports Festival, we have our general meeting. The one that suppose to take place in Calabar – 2014, 2015 – did not take place. We’ve been seriously trying to build the house, with people who are reliable and those with purposeful leadership.
“So, because of lack of tournament(s) and Festivals during those years, we couldn’t hold any election. In Abuja, I tried as much as possible to get the executive together at least to decide whether election will come up or not. Unfortunately, the Secretary (Demola Daini) did not come until the final day. And when he came, the Federation (NSF) informed us that there is going to be a referees course for us in January. So, we have decided to put up letter and ask all referees to come to Lagos in January for the course and probably election.”
“Apart from election, we want to do grading as well. Only few of us are graded referees and it is affecting the game. The last grading exam we did was in 2012. And that was in Calabar, of which we had 32 people that participated. Only a few passed. And that’s not too good. So we are trying as much as possible to grade referees. Some would be club referees, some would be national referees, some would be international referees. Because if you see what happened in the last Festival in Abuja, it was so terrible.
“The Federation got themselves involved in selecting referees and people they brought cannot even record, talkless of making calls. Only few referees are qualified. Some referees were there from morning till night, and you know what that means – mental tiredness!
“During the AGM which was done on the 13th, the Federation has decided in their constitution that they will not interfere with anything if we have an organization, and I think that will be very good.”
WHY WE ARE HAVING PROBLEMS WITH OUR ELECTION
“Years back in 1985, I started this organization – the Referees’ Association. I handed over to Ogunjimi Olusegun. When I found out that they are not doing well, an election was called again. Mr. Friday Omoben became the president in 2003. That was at the All-Africa Games. From 2003 to 2012, all our savings up till today, nobody can account for it. The ate the money. So, I was begged. Fact is, I did not ask to be the president. I was not even there. I was voted for in absentia to come and help them reorganize it. By the grace of God, I have done that.”
— Top Media Nigeria (@TopMediaNigeria) December 13, 2018
Reeling out his achievements, Mogaji says:
“I introduced referee uniform and cap. We are working on our ID Card. I opened a bank account that three of us are signatories to. We have close to half a million now that I cannot take a kobo from until one or two persons join me to sign. So for the first time, we have an organized referees’ association,” he submits.
NIGERIA SQUASH COACHES ELECTED OFFICERS
Asst Gen Sec
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