The proposal by a supposed UK-based Arabella 21st Century sports/marketing company, and some investors to plough about $1.5 billion into the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) may turn out a huge joke after all.
Following the buzz generated by the proposal by Arabella 21st Century as represented by its CEO/President, Otunba Femi Carrena, during his meeting with Nigeria Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, recently Nigerian sports enthusiasts who were concerned about the reality of such investment coming from the UK or Europe where they are based sought to find out those behind the project.
An investigation carried out by BEN TV, a UK-based first ethnic media channel in Europe on Arabella 21st Century including reaching out to UK’s company registration body, Company House, did not show any result.
Really, it did show that UK Company House, (equivalent of Nigeria’s Corporate Affairs Commission) may not have any record of Arabella 21st Century in its system.
Infact, the only known website for Arabella 21st Century, has its domain name suspended since September 30th 2016 for inability to renew it.
The suspension of Arabella 21st Century domain name since September could have caused the panic among sports enthusiasts who felt a company willing to invest $1.5 billion in Nigeria but could not afford a few dollars, less than $100, to renew its domain name must be unserious or at best itself looking for survival strategy in Nigeria.
Further checks also showed that the only known project with Arabella 21st Century was the award of a contract to manage the arenas for the 15th National Sports Festival hosted by Ogun State Gateway Games Commission in 2006.
How well did Arabella 21st Century performed in the task of managing that project can only be answered by Ogun State Gateway Commission.
The news of such investment is a welcome development and a relief to many followers of Nigeria’s NPFL. The amount is staggering, capable of turning Nigeria’s sports around for the best and a huge step forward, however, it will be another blow to this government if it ended being another false hope.
While the BEN TV report is not questioning the possible interest of Arabella 21st Century’s investment in Nigeria, it said that the company and its proprietors need to sort out the company’s identity, make its presence known to UK authority, the Company House.
“If it is trading from the UK as we are made to believe, it needs to resolve its few bucks payment for its website domain renewal, at least for Nigerians to check them out and their profile especially in sports and related projects management.”
While meeting with Dalung with his proposal few days ago, Carrena insisted that
some investors in the United Kingdom were willing to invest the amount in the NPFL.
He had said with so much promise; “They want to bring in about $1.5billion into Nigerian football but there is a caveat to it. They are not going to tamper with the constitution, statutes or football article. It is the same thing they did in China and Japan.
“The league board will operate with the NFF and the Ministry will be involved. They want to set up a football development company that will be quoted on the stock exchange and same will apply to all the football clubs in Nigeria.”
Carrena also hinted that like any other investor, they’ll like to make money.
“They want to come to Nigeria and manage our league for the next 20 years. After a meeting with the ministry and other stakeholders, they’ll set up the company but their Nigerian counterparts are expected to invest 30 per cent of the $1.5billion. They’re ready to put their own money into the stock exchange but they’ll have the controlling share,” stressed the sweet talking CEO of Arabella to the sports minister who welcomed the proposal with open arms.