Chairman, League Management Company (LMC), Alhaji Shehu Dikko, has expressed delight at his choice, as The Sun Sports Personality of the Year 2016, saying the award was a huge debt that could only be redeemed by working harder.
Speaking when a delegation from The Sun Publishing Limited formally intimated him of his award, as Sport Personality of the Year, at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano, he said the honour was a huge challenge, which would make him double his efforts in making Nigeria’s professional league stronger.
According to Dikko, who received the letter notifying him of the award from The Sun team, during the interval of a professional league match between Kano Pillars and FC Ifeanyiubah, “this award is a huge debt. And the only way we can redeem it is to keep doing more, to keep doing good, to keep excelling, by always trying to improve on what we are doing right and eliminating those areas that we feel we are getting it wrong.”
He expressed appreciation to the Board and Management of The Sun for the recognition and dedicated the award to everybody involved in the Nigerian professional football league: The President, clubs, players and the media.
“We are doing it together and collectively. This award is on behalf of everybody that is involved in the Nigeria Professional Football League,” he declared.
Dikko gave a special credit to the former Chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFA), Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima, for the achievements recorded by his leadership of the LMC, stating: “Without Galadima, all these things would not have been possible. All these things we are doing today were things we thought we would have done with Galadima in those days, before his tenure was truncated. We are happy that we are continuing them and we are making progress.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, The Sun Publishing Limited, Mr. Eric Osagie, explained that The Sun Sports Personality of the Year was conferred on “any Nigerian sportsman or woman, official or administrator, whose achievement during the period in review brought out the best in the nation’s sports.”
The MD, who was represented by Editor, Daily Sun, Mr. Onuoha Ukeh, stated that the choice of Dikko was informed by his flourishing career as a football administrator and a marketing expert.
Osagie observed that the LMC chairman had “successfully repackaged and re-positioned professional football in the country, leading to the creation of the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL), run by the League Management Company.”
He noted that the league management, under Dikko, had changed the face of professional football in Nigeria, which has caused football fans across the country to return to match venues.
He recalled: “When Rangers hosted El-Kanemi Football Club in one of the final matches of the league, the crowd at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium was unprecedented, as the entire stadium was filled up. The story was not in any way different from Akure to Uyo, down to Makurdi right from the very first week of the season.”
Osagie similarly observed that the LMC had fared well in the area of sponsorship, recognising the latest deal with Star Lager Beer as well as the fact that SuperSports retained its league broadcast right in the country.
He also observed that the LMC had attracted the attention of top leagues across the world, like the Spanish La Liga as well as getting kudos from various sports stakeholders.