Recently, chairmen of football associations in south west Nigeria, visited the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi to solicit for his royal support for their grandiose plans to develop and take football in the zone to the next level.
Months, the Oodua Youth football league, is yet to kick off. Expectedly, concerns were raised. Investigations by this reporter threw up a different angle to why football in the South West states, save for Lagos State, seem to be in disarray.

And our the search light took us to Ekiti State and we discovered why football in the state is on a back foot. It was also discovered that in recent times, Ekiti FA have enmeshed in a somewhat debilitating internal wrangling. And some board members who spoke with this reporter were quick to blame the poor state of Ekiti football on what they describes as arbitrariness and high handedness of the part of the FA chairman, Ayo Alabi.

Investigation also revealed that the present crisis began several months back when dissatisfied members of the board complained and petitioned the Ekiti State State Sports Commission accusing Ayo  Alabi of not carrying along other board members in decision makings.
Amongst other complaints are misappropriation and application of funds,flagrant abuse of office, blackmail and intimidation by the FA chairman.

In his reaction, the embattled FA boss, refuted claims of crisis. Stating that he is not aware of any. His words; " I am not aware of any crisis in Ekiti FA. It is normal for members to have complaints. And it is also normal for it to be resolved. Therefore, I am not aware of any crisis, except you are telling me there is one now. "

When contacted, other past chairmen of Ekiti FA including Ayodele Isaac and Taiwo Odebunmi gave different views on the matter. According to Ayodele Isaac, " I am not aware of any crisis presently. However, I won't say, there wasn't a crisis. I believe it has been resolved. Yes, several FA chairmen intervened and I think we have been able to nip it in the bud. Mind you, it is normal to have crisis and I think I had my fair share of it. As well as,Odebunmi and other past chairmen ."

Taiwo Odebunmi ,who is also a past chairman of the FA, who also spoke to this reporter, agreed there is a lingering crisis in the FA. " The crisis in Ekiti FA came up because other board members felt neglected and unhappy that the chairman was not carrying them along in decision making.

" They also accused him of not holding meetings. Don't forget that Ekiti State is dry in terms of football activities. I remember that at the height of this crisis, several stakeholders in Ekiti football including ex-chairmen and some influential football people from other states were invited to wade into the crisis. And a prominent son of the state, Oba Ajakaye, the Oluyin of Iyin, Ekiti, was asked to mediate and bring peace. Therefore, we pray for a lasting peace in Ekiti football, " Odebunmi added.

Some of the aggrieved board members of the FA, expressed their concern for the development of Ekiti football, which according to the FA spokesman, Joseph Fatukasi ,was their singular purpose of coming on the board.
He lamented that the refusal of the FA boss to call for regular meetings and appraisals of the state's football as the genesis of the present crisis rocking the FA.

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" When we came on board in 2015,we all agreed in principle to develop Ekiti football in all its ramifications. After sometime, Ayo Alabi turned coat and started colluding with the FA secretary and thus keeping members of the board in the dark on the activities of the FA, " Fatukasi lamented.

He continued; " Together with the secretary, Ayo Alabi was withdrawing and spending the FA funds without a recourse to the board. He continued to refuse calls and demands for a statutory meeting of the board. That was when the other board members met and decided to write a petition to the Ekiti State Sports Council, as well as, the South West football forum led by Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi.

" And when the stakeholders and the other FA chairmen in the zone came to Ekiti state for a peace meeting, it was decided to that the respected monarch and retired judge, Oba Ajakaye, should broker lasting peace in three weeks. Unfortunately, that has not been possible because Ayo Alabi has refused to honour the several calls and entreaties of the monarch. That is our present state," he further explained.

In the view of the Vice- Chairman of the FA, Otunba Yomi Ariyo, the FA boss is afraid of being impeached if he eventually call a congress meeting. According to him Ayo Alabi, is basking in the tacit support of other south west FA chairmen. As he continues to state that nobody can remove him or make him resign from office.

" Ayo Alabi is afraid of impeachment if he calls for a stakeholders and Congress meeting. He has committed a litany of offences including the misappropriation and application of the FA funds. Imagine unilaterally awarding contract for mirage projects on behalf of the FA.

He once awarded a N6million contract to his personal company, Topworld Limited in the name of his name. Tell me, is ethical ? " he added rhetorically.
They aggrieved board members, went on to admonish genuine stakeholders, particularly, the FA Chairmen in 

South West, to be wary of supporting Ayo Alabi in the continued perpetuation of his atrocities that is killing football in the state. Meanwhile, the Chairman of the South West Football Forum and Chairman Lagos Football Association, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, in reaction to enquiries on the crisis told this reporter that he would be in Ekiti State on  Thursday. Promising that the issue would be resolved when he gets there.

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