It has been Amateur Football League before 1990.


Football in Nigeria has a very robust, exciting and inspiring historical perspective. This history has impacted a great lesson that has immeasurably charted the programme of the current leadership of NFF and NNL in particular. The nationalistic spirit that underlies the historical transformation of the game in Nigeria and the emergence of great national teams, club sides, football managers and very dynamic fans are no doubt sources of great inspiration for the current.


In 1990, after several years of contemplation and agitation for professional football to be introduced in Nigeria, following dismal performances in international engagements, for example, when Nigeria failed to qualify for the world cup finals in Argentina in 1978 and Spain in 1982. The then Honourable Minister of Social Development, Youth and Sports, Air Vice Marshal Bayo Lawal appointed some experts on the 8th of February, 1989 to work out modalities for the introduction of professional soccer in Nigeria.

On the 14th of January, 2008 the then President of Nigeria Football Federation, Alh. Sanni Lulu Abdullahi inaugurated an Interim Committee saddled with the responsibility of running the National League, with the following as members of the committee: Dr. Shehu Adamu as Chairman, Mr. Pinnick Amaju as Vice Chairman, Alh. Tanko Nuhu, Sir E.C. Chukwuemeka, Alh. G. A. Majekodunmi, Mr. Richard Jideaka, Alh. Audu Attah as members and Mr. Ayo Rahaman as Secretary.

The clubs that competed in the 2008/2009 National League are:

Division A: Supreme Court FC of Abuja, FC Taraba of Taraba, Plateau Utd FC of Jos, Unicem Rovers of Calabar, Kwara Utd FC of Ilorin, El-Kanemi Warriors FC of Maiduguri, Babanawa FC of Kogi, Sokoto Utd FC of Sokoto, Makwada FC Yola, Dalhatu FC of Kano, BCC Lions FC of Gboko, Jigawa Golden Stars FC of Dutse, Adamawa Utd FC of Yola, Ranch Bees FC of Kaduna, NAF FC of Abuja.

Division B: Delta Force of Asaba, Union Bank FC of Lagos, First Bank FC of Lagos, Kolu Utd FC of Bayelsa, Anambra Utd FC of Onitsha, OUK of Umuahia, Bussdor FC of Portharcourt, Crown FC of Ogbomosho, 3SC FC of Ibadan, Dolphin FC of Portharcourt, Prime FC of Oshogbo, FC Ebedei of Abeokuta, Ila FC of Ila, Gabros International FC of Nnewi, Bendel Insurance of Benin and Julius Berger of Lagos

For three seasons, National League has been without sponsors and in 2011 the Nigeria Football Federation under the leadership of Alh. Aminu Maigeri organized an election into the board of Nigerian National League. The products of that election are:

  • High Chief Emeka Inyama –         Chairman
  • Mallam Nuhu Tanko           –         Member
  • Kunle Soname                      –         Member
  • Emmanuel Ochiagha           –         Member
  • Greg Abang                            –         Member
  • Ayo Abdulrahaman              –         Secretary

In year 2013 Mr. Ayo Abdulrahaman was deployed back to the Secretariat of Nigeria Football Federation following a major deployment exercise carried out. The NFF Secretariat posted Mr. Lawrence Katken to replace him as the new Secretary of the Nigeria National League. In the 2013 Clubs Congress, the Congress approved the absorption of Mr. Emmanuel Zira from North East and Alh. Isah Dodo from North West into the Board of the Nigeria National League. With this development, the new composition of the Board of the Nigeria National League look thus:

  • High Chief Emeka Inyama –         Chairman
  • Mallam Nuhu Tanko           –         Member
  • Kunle Soname                      –         Member
  • Emmanuel Ochiagha          –         Member
  • Greg Abang                          –         Member
  • Emmanuel Zira                   –         Member
  • Isah Dodo                             –         Member
  • Lawrence Katken               –         Secretary

As part of the rebuilding process, the League Board with the approval of the Nigeria Football Federation has incorporated the League as a Limited Liability Company; thus the League is now known as Nigeria National League Limited. This achievement has in no small measure leveraged the League to do business with prospective suitors.



The Ad Hoc Committee was inaugurated in Abuja with the mandate to come up with an acceptable governing restructure for the Nigeria National League (NNL).

Members of the Committee are as follows:

  1. Seyi Akinwunmi              –         Chairman
  2. Alloy Chukwuemeka      –         Member
  3. Isah Dodo                         –         Member
  4. Lawrence Katken            –         Secretary

METHODOLOGY: The Committee decided to be far-reaching in its approach towards getting the challenges of the League.

In the course of its sittings, the committee invited and discussed with the representatives of clubs playing in the League.


The committee was able to realize amongst others the following:

  1. That the NNL is the most important league in the country.
  2. That the League requires good governing structure that is capable of attracting sponsors.
  3. That the subsisting structure needs to be strengthened too.
  4. That aggressive sponsorship drives need to be embarked upon by the League.


  1. That NNL brand needs to be marketed, but require proper administrative serenity to materialize.
  2. That the League requires adequate funding for it to strive.
  3. That the search for promotion at all cost has been the basis for several assaults on match officials and unhealthy antics to gain board room points.
  4. Alleged undue influence by Board members who are club owners.
  5. Adjudication on the rules of the game as opposed to strictly disciplinary matters by the disciplinary committee of the NFF instead of by the Organising Committee.
  6. This erodes the confidence people have in the adjudication process, the league and it’s mangers.


It was resolved that the membership of the board shall comprise of:

  • An independent non Executive Chairman
  • 3 non executive directors (with 3 alternate directors) to be nominated by the NNL Clubs
  • 3 other non executive Independent Directors.
  • The Chief Executive Officer (To source for funds for the League)

While the post of the Secretary will be converted to that of a Chief Operating Officer (COO).

The New Board:

On the 18th December, 2016, the Amaju Pinnick led Board of the Nigeria Football Federation inaugurated a new Board following the recommendation of a new governing structure by the Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi led Ad hoc Committee for the restructuring of the Nigeria National League.

The Following are members of the Board:

  1. Chidi Ofo Okenwa            –         Chairman
  2. Moh. Nasir Saidu             –         Vice Chairman
  • Bukola Olopade                –         Chief Executive Officer
  1. Tunji Onatolu                    –         Member
  2. Dodo Isah                           –         Member
  3. Oyibe Ifeanyichukwu        –         Member
  • Amos Nworie                    –         Member
  • Sunday S. Longbap          –         Member
  1. O. Ladi Thompson           –         Member
  2. Farouk Yarma                  –         Member
  3. Lawrence Katken            –         Chief Operating Officer


  • Our mission is to raise the resources, and the awareness to revive Football Development process, grow talents and develop raw talents through organization and promotion of competitions at the National level, to repackage and reposition Nigeria National League in line with international best practices for the benefit of all stake holders.


  • To set the standard for professional league management in Africa and attempts to meet the standards in developed world as it relates to professional infrastructure, organization, commercialization and other international best practices.
  • To encourage mass participation of Football all over the country through the national competitions that shall create the need to reactivate and promote football industry.
  • To eradicate poverty amongst Nigerian Youths by ensuring that Nigerian Youths are meaningfully engaged through Football industry.
  • To provide ready feeder players for our various cadres of National Teams.

It is our vision that we attract enough of our indigenous football followers by developing made in Nigeria Football, by partnering with willing corporate organizations to actualize this vision. Given the fact that football is a media event, Nigeria National League considers Television as the strongest medium to reach out to its numerous audiences across the country and beyond.

The platform for Partnership between any corporate body and NNL is based on the league’s 2017/2018 schedule of activities.

The League:

  • There are 36 clubs in the League spread across the country
  • The League is divided into two divisions ‘A’ and ‘B’ (18 clubs in each group).
  • League matches are played on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays or mid week as the need arises.
  • A total of 18 matches are played per week (9 in Division A and 9 in Division B).
  • The League last for 34 weeks per season
  • A total of 612 matches are played per season.