L –R , Visiting FIFA, President , Mr. Gienna Infantino(LEFT) present FIFA banner to President Muhammadu Buhari during the visit of Intantino to the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Monday. Photo: GODWIN OMOIGUI

Tobi Soniyi in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has said his administration will pay keen attention to accountability and transparency to fast-track football development in the country.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said Buhari spoke while receiving the FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, and the Secretary-General, Fatma Samuora, at the State House, Abuja.

Buhari challenged football administrators to fashion out strategic programmes to develop the game.

Congratulating the duo on their election, particularly Samuora, the first African and female to be elected FIFA Secretary-General, Buhari welcomed Infantino’s programme to reform the world game through transparency, anti-corruption and good governance.

The president pledged Nigeria’s support to FIFA president’s reform agenda, noting that they were similar to those his presidency had outlined to resuscitate Nigeria.

‘‘Majority of Nigerians are married to football. In the rural areas, when there is no electricity and there is a game to watch, Nigerians go to the extent of renting small generators, popularly known as ‘I better-pass-my neighbour’ to watch the game.

‘‘We will take the development of football very seriously and I encourage the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to behave itself and organise effective competitions for the good of the game,’’ he said.

‘‘Accountability is serious business and I welcome you (Infantino) into the club of accountable Chief Executive Officers,’’ the President said.

In his remarks, Infantino asked the Nigerian authorities to pay attention to infrastructure and find a lasting solution to the problem of violence and insecurity at match venues.

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