Benue FA Chairman, Barrister Paul Edeh Speaks on Football Development, Lobi Stars Controversy

Barr. Paul Edeh

Football development: Benue FA remains non-partisan, committed to peaceful, neutral approach – Chairman

Lobi Stars Controversy: Our Stand – Benue FA

The leadership of Benue State Football Association (BSFA) has clearly stated that it is only committed towards ensuring the development of the round leather game at all times without interfering in the day-to-day activities of any club.

BSFA Chairman, Barrister Paul Edeh, in a terse statement on Monday August 28, 2023, urged stakeholders in Benue, particularly in the football arena to exercise restrain, be patient and tolerant as the current administration led by Governor Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Alia will at the right time consider most appropriate decision regarding Lobi Stars.

Barrister Paul Edeh
Barrister Paul Edeh

Making reference to recent happenings, Barrister Paul Edeh who since assumption into office emphasised massive grassroots football development said, “I have for the past few days read with fascination the arguments on this platform regarding the leadership of Lobi Stars FC arising from the stakeholders’ meeting held by His Excellency, Rev Fr Dr Hycenth Alia last week with Lobi Stars stakeholders.

“I have also been inundated with calls and messages seeking to know the position of the Benue State Football Association (BSFA) on the issue.

“The position of the BSFA is that the matter at hand is the internal affairs of Lobi Stars FC, which is an affiliate of the BSFA like every other club in the state.

“The BSFA under my watch will not interfere with the internal affairs of any of its affiliates, including Lobi Stars FC, especially when its opinion is not sought. However, we will offer guidance and advice when called upon to do so as a body responsible for administering football in the state.”

The veteran football administrator stressed, “The BSFA will continue to maintain its independence in football matters in Benue State and protect the sanctity of its statutes and that of the NFF.

“Furthermore, the BSFA under my watch will continue to insist on cordiality amongst all football stakeholders in the State and encourage all members of the Benue Football Family to please identify and promote what unites us as stakeholders which will lead to the development of the game so we can together put Benue State back in the Nigerian Football map once again.”

He also appealed that, “We must eschew from verbal abuses and stalking each other when we voice our opinions. We must understand that it is our divergence that most often brings out the best in us and makes us much stronger as critical stakeholders. Hence, when we ventilate our grievances, let’s not do so to the point of being disrespectful to one another. Let’s focus more on ideas that will promote football in our dear state. This was the point of the Stakeholders meeting that the BSFA Board organised in Makurdi a few weeks ago.

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“There is no way we can move football forward in Benue State with the discordant tunes sung for the past few days. It is clear to me that there are challenges bedevilling football in Benue State, wounds has been inflicted in the past, a lot of us have been trampled upon and we all want football in the State administered better. I will continue to appeal to all aggrieved individuals to please trust that there is light at the end of the tunnel and crave the indulgence of all stakeholders to please trust the Board under my watch that we will change the narrative of football in Benue State and make the State the pride of football again.”

The BSFA boss further urged all football stakeholders to instead of unnecessary bickering, focus on issues that will move Benue football development forward.

He said, “As the saying goes, a house divided against itself can not stand. Let’s desist from washing our dirty linen in public and be conscious of the fact that the internet does not forget issues that are brought to public space. Let us together build and grow the game. Let it start from this point forward and not backward. Let’s rechannel our energy towards promoting the game from the grassroots to the center.

“As all well-meaning stakeholders of Lobi Stars and the general public await the final verdict of His Excellency, the Executive Govenor of Benue State, Rev. Fr. Dr. Hycenth Alia …, I admonish and urge that all concerned Benue Football Family sheathe their swords on this matter and continue to hope for the best for Lobi Stars FC and support the decision that His Excellency will consider most appropriate for the Club given the circumstance. Irrespective of where the pendulum swings …., we must continue to join hands together as Benue Football Family to support Lobi Stars FC as the pride of Benue State to succeed regardless of the storms.”

He reassured of the resolve of BSFA to maintain an open door approach for all to make meaningful contributions geared towards the upliftment of football in the state.