Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Exclusive: Interview with Nigeria Premier League Chairman, Baribote

SPORTDIVA: Can you tell us about yourself?
BARIBOTE: My name is Chief Rumson Victor Baribote, I’m the Chairman of the Nigeria Premier League and the Second Vice president of the Nigeria Football Federation, I’m from Bayelsa State, Nembe Local Govt, am a Chief and just like any other young guy I attended St Michael Primary School, I attended Bonny National, I have my Bsc in management from uniport, I have diploma in stadium management from NIS, when I was in Asia playing I use to be secretary of the Nigeria Union and I went to Europe after playing and I have been involved in organizing football and I organize tournaments for west Africans living in France, it’s just like bringing Africans together which was supported by western union so when I came back I was appointed the chairman of bayelsa united in 2007 and I chaired the team to the league title, and I was elected the chairman of Nigeria Premier League and early this year I decided to float a club which I sponsor its called Nembe city football club which is by the grace of God going to campaign in the premier league come 2012/2013 league season

SPORTDIVA: ..…obviously you played football as a professional?

BARIBOTE: Of course I did but I didn’t play for the top leveled clubs in Europe but I played for Olizai FC Italy, and also in France and Bengai Mumbai FC in India, and I played for few clubs in Nigeria.

SPORTDIVA: ..…which other languages do you speak?
BARIBOTE: A little of Italian and more of French

SPORTDIVA: What was your reaction to the recent ratings of the league being the no 1 league in africa
BARIBOTE: Like every other person that has done well and as a country that has done well in a particular place, I feel great and I am happy, I was called by someone from the Football Federation and he said congrats and I was like, well, we thank God.

SPORTDIVA: How did you plan to retain the rating as the no 1 team in Africa?
BARIBOTE: Well they said man proposes but God disposes, we want to put in our best, so many people has been trying, the board has been working without a sponsor , the board has been working assiduously to get sponsors and partners into the board, I want to say at this junction that Nigerians should commend the present board because we have been able to push the league to this level and we want to particularly thank the principal and associates of the clubs, today it the turn of Baribote as the Chairman of NPL and I believe the League belongs to every Nigerian, Nigerians are so passionate about football so when the country is playing we put ethnic and grudges aside, I want to enjoin Nigerians on how to contribute positively and make the Nigerian league a good one. We want to see how we can go up in the world ranking, we want to be among the best 10 in the world, we are number 24 already you see we should not destroy the system because we are there today and people will view it as a destroyed system already so those are the things, its only when you are important that people will talk about you and that we should be ready for all kind of criticisms which will make us better leaders.

SPORTDIVA: How have you been able to cope without sponsorship, and to also make the league a successful one at it?
BARIBOTE: I think it’s through commitment by the secretariat, board members and everyone involved, because now there are lots of sacrifices by the clubs and of course without money there are somethings we cannot do and there are things you can do out of passion we want to see by next season we will get over the sponsorship issue and everybody can benefit.

SPORTDIVA: Who are the potential sponsors?
BARIBOTE: Well I don’t want to tell everybody that I’m coming to Abuja but I want to tell them that I’m in Abuja already, by the Grace of God within the shortest possible time God will see Us through

SPORTDIVA: Are there still openings?
BARIBOTE: I remember vividly in the agreement that d NPL has the right to partner with whoever they want so far they are not in the same line of business, we have not given exclusive right to anyone, clubs have the right to brand their jerseys with any company nobody can stop them people should get it right

SPORTDIVA: What’s your relationship with the secretariat and board?
BARIBOTE: Well it has been cordial there’s no way two or more people will be together and there won’t be misunderstanding, we should be disciplined, changes are constant if you want to succeed, I don’t have any problem with the secretariat staff.

SPORTDIVA: As the Chairman of the NPL what are your Personal Targets?
BARIBOTE: anybody going into any Venture his sole aim is to succeed whatever you give today I want to put in my best, if I didn’t do my best as the Chairman of Bayelsa United they won’t be a league winner, if I didn’t do my best as the NPL Chairman it won’t be no1 in Africa, the legacy I want to leave behind is to create an enabling environment for our children not to ever regret.

SPORTDIVA: Can you tell us about Nembe City Football Club?
BARIBOTE: Nembe city is an entity of its own, it’s a company that can sue and can be sued somehow I just sponsored the club but the chairman will be in a better place to talk about the club, we founded it with the sole aim to attract the private sector to football, if clubs will be less dependent on government we will have a better one; Nembe city is the second privately owned club in Nigeria apart from ABS of Kwara State, Football is capital intensive but if well managed there’s a lot of profit in it, it might not be easy in beginning but with time it will, technically Nigerian football have gotten it right but the commercial aspect of it is what we are working on, if we can better our standings, with time more private clubs will emerge.

SPORTDIVA: How do you Unwind?
BARIBOTE: I stay among friends and listen to local music

SPORTDIVA: What’s your life Philosophy?
BARIBOTE: The fear of the unknown/tomorrow, I believe in everything you do, you have to be secured; you don’t depend on anyone and you shouldn’t depend on anyone, watever I do, I give it my all bacause of the fear of tomorrow.

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