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,” he said.
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 added.
Members of the committee include its chairman, 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.
Others are Rt. Hon. Margaret Icheen, AIG of Police Umar Baba, Ufuoma McDermott an A-list Nollywood actress, Kemi Areola, Ademola Olajire, Kola Daniel, Chisom Ezeoke, Olayinka Olagbemiro, Ese Okpomo, Ruth David and Mohammed Ameenu a FIFA –trained instructor, CAF referee assessor and special assistant to the NFF General Secretary.
Meanwhile, President of the Nigeria Football Federation and FIFA Council Member, Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick on Monday inaugurated the local organizing committee of the Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Tournament, saying that values of integrity, diligence, hard work, probity and pursuit of excellence should be the body’s watchwords. He added that the name of Mrs Aisha Buhari, First Lady of the Federal Republic, which is attached to the competition stands for decency, uprightness and patriotism and charged the LOC to organize a tournament that upholds all these virtues and also gives credence to the stature of Nigeria as a nation of intelligent, knowledgeable and enterprising people.