His victory as the winner of House of Representatives seat on the platform of the Labour Party (LP) is still fresh in mind. Ekene Abubakar Adams’ emergence as the Rep-elect for Chikun/Kajuru Federal Constituency of Kaduna State, was one of the upsets of the season having defeated the occupant of the seat for 16 years, Yakubu Barde.
Perhaps, the youthful politician and sports administrator, was basking in the euphoria when headed to Ikenne, Ogun State, to take part in the Match Day 12 fixture of the 2023 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) between Remo Stars, a team he supersedes as the General Manager, and the Gombe United. Little did he know he would land himself in trouble.
The game ended in fiasco on Sunday over alleged assault on match officials. The game was called off after the match officials refused to come out from the dressing room for the second half. This followed an “assault” on the referee, Ndubuisi Ukah, in the dressing room. The game, however, was concluded on Monday.
Adams was at the centre of the allegations. And during the week, the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) wielded the big sticks and placed the General Manager of Remo Stars on ban from all NPFL activities for the rest of the season.
THE MAN EKENE ADAMS
Born in 1985, Adams is a Nigerian entrepreneur, politician and former professional footballer.
Few years ago, Ekene established the Kada City FC, a Nigerian football club based in Kaduna, to enhance development of football within Kaduna. He was regarded as the youngest football club owner in Nigeria.
Kada City was created to promote development of football within Kaduna state. They had their official unveiling ceremony in February 2018. Kada City won the 2018 Nigeria National League promotion playoff over Bendel Insurance F.C. and made their Nigeria Premier League debut in 2019.
As a politician, Adams at various times, was a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and the LP which earned a Rep seat in the incoming 10th National Assembly.
He’s the third football administrator who won NASS seat during the last election. Also to represent the football family in the House of Representatives is Aminu Balele Kurfi, the Chairman of the Katsina State Football Association who is also Chairman of the NFF Committee on Youth Competitions. He was elected to the House of Representatives from the Dutsin-ma/Kurfi Federal Constituency of Katsina State on the platform of the ruling APC.
Also elected into the NASS is the Proprietor of FC IfeanyiUbah. He returns to the Senate after winning on the ticket of Young Peoples’ Party, (YPP) to represent the Anambra South Senatorial District.
HOW ADAMS SOLD HIS CLUB’S PREMIER LEAGUE SLOT
In 2019, Adams as the chairman, Kada City, stirred up controversy after he reportedly sold his club’s Premier League spot to Delta state Government attributing it to lack of financial muscle to cope with the financial demand of running a club in the topflight during the 2018/18 league season.
At the point of selling the slot, he said not “having enough time to prepare his side beyond the technical side was one he couldn’t recover from and since he couldn’t secure necessary fund unlike Government owned clubs, there is a limit to which he can truly run the club in the topflight.”
“We must see this from a business angle, majority of the clubs in Nigeria doesn’t see this from a business angle because they just see it as avenue to satisfy some people’s interest,” he said.
The development forced him out of the club the management was enmeshed in crisis. Month after he sold the club’s slot, Adams resigned as Kada City’s Chief Executive Officer.
The sports administrator would later join the Remo Stars as the General Manager. He was said to have left the position briefly due to health challenges. Ekene underwent a surgery in Europe where he spent few weeks before his return to Nigeria to take his position at Remo Stars in 2021.
He was unveiled as General Manager of the Club immediately after the team gained promotion to play in the elite League.
ADAMS DEDICATES ELECTORAL VICTORY TO REMO STARS’ CHAIRMAN, SONAME
The Rep-elect recently dedicated his victory to the President of Remo Stars Football Club of Ikenne, Kunle Soname.
While speaking when he presented his certificate of return issued him by INEC as a member-elect to Soname, Adams showed encomiums on the billionaire sports administrator, and business mogul.
“I give glory to God, my family and the good people for giving me the mandate to serve them in the Green Chamber. All credit goes to Soname for his father’s role in my political growth.
“I must from everything that I have learnt from him (Soname) in the many years I have been with him, serve humanity. Without him, we wouldn’t have been talking about this feat that I just achieved.
“Soname is not keen about ‘God-Fatherism’ but he is my political ‘godfather, as he’s a government despite not holding any position in government, he doesn’t have a tribal or religious bias as he sees every Nigerian as one.
“Our philanthropic gesture is what we learnt from him as it knows no bounds. At KADA City in the NPFL four years ago, he single-handedly paid monthly salaries and other logistics, regardless the club was based in Kaduna.
“As a branch of his good works, we must emulate him by making this new government better for the common good of all Nigerians. We have nothing to offer Soname than to extend the hands of goods to people. My prayer to God is to keep Soname alive for Nigerians
“Without much ado, I had to come to present my certificate of return to him, as a member-elect in the 10th National Assembly. I want to state here clearly that others and I, are his products and will remain his product,” he said.
THE IMC’S HAMMER
The Interim Management Committee (IMC) suspended Adams for assaulting the referee during his club’s (Remo Stars) game against Gombe United.
Adams was said to have assaulted Ndubuisi Ukah, the referee, in the dressing room which led to the disruption of the NPFL encounter on Sunday.
The game was later concluded on Monday and it finished goalless.
In a statement released on Wednesday, IMC said Adams had een banned from “all NPFL activities for the rest of the season”, adding that Remo Stars must “ensure diligent prosecution” of the GM.
The club was also fined N1,250,000 for the double offence of “failing to adequately secure match Officials before, during and after the match” and “disturbances and disruptions which led to the discontinuation of a league match”.
Three points and three goals would also be docked from the cumulative of the club’s performance this season as punishment.
“The IMC in a Summary Jurisdiction notice signed by Davidson Owumi, the Head of Operations said the sanctions followed a review of findings of the official match report,” the statement reads.
“In the charge, Remo Stars was found in breach of Rules B8.21, B13.21, C11 and B13.52.
“For breach of Rule B8.21, which is failure to adequately secure match Officials before, during and after the match leading to the assault on one of them, the club was fined ₦500,000 and also directed to pay ₦250,000 to the said Official, Ukah Ndubuisi as compensation.
“For breach of Rules C.11, three points and three goals were ordered to be deducted from the total points and goals accrued to the club for the assault on the match official while Mr Ekene Adams identified as the attacker has been banned from all NPFL activities for the rest of the season.
“Remo Stars is also to ensure diligent prosecution in the law court, of Mr Adams, who is the Club’s General Manager. The Club was also found to have breached Rule B13.21 for disturbances and disruptions which led to the discontinuation of a league match. The club was fined ₦500,000.”
Remo Stars are currently third in Group A of the NPFL abridged league with 21 points from 12 games. The points deduction would see the team drop to fifth.
Adams has not reacted to ban and planned prosecution.