As the election date draws closer with each passing day, Nigerian Journalists who spoke on the background of the endorsement of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu for the 2023 Presidential election in Nigeria by former military head of state, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida IBB said should the Abia State born sports administrator and politician decide to contest for the number one position in the country and emerges victorious, Nigeria’s hope of winning the World Cup is a huge possiblity.
Nigeria is due to conduct a general election in 2023 to elect new leaders including the country’s president to oversee their affairs at national and regional levels.
Recall that the former Military head of state, IBB in a recent interview disclosed that given Senator Orji Uzor Kalu the needed chance and support to become the president of the country, he would transform the nation.
Speaking, IBB noted that for equity and fairness in the country, the North should support the South-East region to produce the next president adding “We have the likes of Orji Uzor Kalu who is interested in ruling the country and why not,” he said.
Reacting to the endorsement, a renowned sports journalist and TVC NEWS presenter, Akiri Miyen said that he is convinced beyond doubt that if Orji Uzor Kalu becomes Nigeria’s President, Super Eagles of Nigeria will win the World Cup.
“If Orji Kalu becomes President, Nigeria will win the World cup, I am so sure. Where is the God of Nigeria”?, he asked.
Another sports journalist based in Abuja, Ebube Dike said he has no doubt about Chief Orji’s pedigree in ensuring that Nigeria wins the World Cup under him as Nigeria’s President.
“There is no doubt about his capacity and ability as a seasoned sports administrator as well as a trusted politician who has governed his state for two terms and etched his name in sports history that no current former Governor has attained.
“As the governor of Abia State, hé sponsored the state’s Football club, Enyimba International to win the CAF Champions League twice in 2003 and 2004 seasons. He was the first and only Governor to achieve that in the country.
“If you look at Enyimba, despite their relative dominance in the domestic league, it has not been translated to the continent since the Senator left office in 2007.
“Do not also forget, that there was a time he had a go at the CAF presidency. It was because of his football antecedents as well as in sports generally that he was crowned Africa’s Pillar of Sports.
“So I have no doubt about what he can do with regards to sports especially football. Winning the World Cup under him as President is a realisable dream,” he affirmed.
Senator Orji Uzor Kalu was the Executive Governor of Abia State from 1999 to 2007 during which he reconfigured sports in general and football in particular in the state.
Under his governoship, Enyimba International Football Club became a dominant and fearsome club not just in the domestic league – Nigeria Premier League (now Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL) but that dominance was extended to African continent as the club made up of reputable players took the CAF Champions League and Super Cup by storm winning the two trophies back-to-back in 2003 and 2004, 2004 and 2005, respectively.
At the domestic league, the “People’s Governor,” as he was popularly referred by his beloved Abia people, made it possible for Enyimba to win the League on five occasions. Enyimba International FC were champions of the Nigeria league in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2007. Ostensibly, the team had the greater chunk of their 8 league trophies under him.
It is undebatable, that since he left office in 2007, Enyimba have not been able to reincarnate their former self both at home and abroad.
They have only won the league three times since then in 2010, 2015 and 2019.
Since winning the CAF Champions League in the 2000s, Enyimba’s best performance at the continent post-kalu have been Semi-finals in 2008 and 2011 and Confederation Cup in 2018.