Hate him or love him, attack him as it pleases your conscience, call him whatever name you may wish to call him but be sure, you don’t know much more than this writer when it comes to individual capacity and brilliance especially in the areas of administration, marketing, sponsorship and branding.
Dikko has his many flaws, he can be religiously and tribally bias on his day, but that too is a trait that lives in every Nigerian. As a Nigerian, the temptation to please yourself, please your family and please your tribe comes first. It takes strong will and determination to overcome.
Dikko is the biggest employer of labour in in present day Nigeria
Today is July 4, a day when all great friends of mallam Shehu Dikko, take time off their busy schedule to highlight the qualities of this great Nigerian, who has invested the better part of his life in serving Nigeria through the improvement, rebranding and promotion of the league, an institution that employs and empowers over 5,000 active footballers in the professional football league and more than 3,000 more in the various club academies scattered across Nigeria.
There are over 100 active football Referees, over 30 active Referee assessors, over 50 active football match commissioners, over 50 active match delegates, over 50 staff of the league management company and over 70 staff of the NPFL TV, website and many more.
No Nigerian, living or dead, has got the capacity to oversea, supervise and achieve optimum results as this Zaria born technocrat who has lived his life, trying to actualize a dream.
A dream of making the Nigeria professional football league the best on the continent and one of the very best in the world, a dream of making Nigeria football fans celebrate their clubs and their players by buying club jerseys and other souvenirs and exhibiting passionate and unrelenting support to the the league, the clubs and the players.
So far, it has not been easy, actualized this dream. The LMC has had to battle against internal and external forces. Some of these forces are sponsored, some are deliberate while there are also vindictive acts aimed at ridiculing efforts and creating a bad name for the brand and the owners of the brand.
In the last 3 months for example, the league management company came close to announcing sponsorship deals running into millions of dollars but the usual enemies stormed the office of the potential sponsors with weighty petitions and threats just to scuttle an effort that comes with over 4years of conscious planning, prayers and pleading.
No individual in present day Nigeria will tender his property as collateral for a bank loan totaling over 300m naira all for the sake of the NPFL.
All these, Shehu Dikko has done and is still doing to get the league going. Like this writer pointed out at the very beginning, he has his shortcomings and like every Nigerian, he is constantly working to improve on these shortcomings. He is human and must be forgiven for his many mistakes.
Like all of us, he deserves a chance to right his wrongs and has shown over time that if given the maximum support, he can achieve the desired result.
The South Africa government has identified the football league as one of the tools to improving the lives of the South African youths and a platform to take these youths out of the street.
No wonder, the government today, have set aside a special budget for the league. The league budget is separate from the South Africa Football Association SAFA, budget. Same thing happens in England where the EPL is today one of the biggest money making venture for the country.
Thousands of tourists visit the country monthly just to watch their favorite clubsides. That is the dream of Mallam Shehu Dikko and he is saying, it is achievable, if everyone will begin to see the league as a national project and work towards improving and uplifting this national treasure.
As we celebrate the man Shehu Dikko today, we must all have it at the back of our mindS that we all have a big responsiblity to play in helpimg to position the NPFL. It is our duty to invest our genuine passion and love for the league. Enough of the lips service, the time to show our loyalty is now! .