PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has stressed the commitment of his administration to accountability, transparency in football and its speedy development in the country.
Receiving FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, and the Secretary-General, Fatma Samuora at the presidential villa, Abuja on Monday, he challenged football administrators to fashion out strategic programmes to develop the game.
Congratulating the duo on their election, particularly Samuora, the first African and female to be elected FIFA Secretary-General, President Buhari welcomed Infantino’s programme to reform the world game through transparency, anti-corruption and good governance.
Buhari pledged Nigeria’s support to FIFA president’s reform agenda, noting that they were similar to those his presidency had outlined to resuscitate Nigeria.
“The majority of Nigerians are married to football. In the rural areas, when there is no electricity and there is a game to watch, Nigerians go to the extent of renting small generators, popularly known as ‘I better-pass-my neighbour’ to watch the game.
“We will take the development of football very seriously and I encourage the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to behave itself and organise effective competitions for the good of the game,” Buhari said, adding: “Accountability is serious business and I welcome you (Infantino) into the club of accountable Chief Executive Officers.”
In his remarks, Infantino asked the Nigerian authorities to pay attention to infrastructure and find a lasting solution to the problem of violence and insecurity at match venues.
“I foresee Nigeria as a bedrock for the development of the game in Africa, however infrastructure, stability and security are needed to make this happen,” he said.