At the front burner in the footballing cycle in Nigeria currently, is the sealing and seizure of 15 properties belonging to some big wigs in the NFF. The ICPC has been in the hot trail of NFF President Amaju Pinnick, 2nd vice president, Shehu Dikko, chairman of the technical committee, Alhaji Ahmed Yusuf and the general secretary, Mohammad Sanusi.
Six of the fifteen seized properties belong to Pinnick, Shehu Dikko has four, while two and three of the properties belong to Ahmed Yusuf and Mohammad Sanusi respectively. This seizure is coming after the conviction of the ICPC that these officials ‘have in excess of what they earn’.
Before the ICPC’s wading into the current investigation of the NFF officials, various probing agencies like EFCC and SPIP have been doing a ‘yeo man job’ in unraveling the monumental corruption allegedly going on in the NFF under the leadership of Amadju Pinnick. Allegations of diverting and syphoning FIFA, CAF and other participation and competition fees, embezzlement of sponsorship deals and many such others are being brandished against the NFF. The huge amounts of money said to be involved is not only mind boggling but unthinkable.
Some key stakeholders in the footballing fraternity see these probes and investigations as a welcome development. While the NFF is crying that their travails is a witch hunt, the probe by the anti- graft agencies and their subsequent arraignment in courts give them opportunity to clear their names as against the hide and seek approach they adopted in the past.
In the words of Hon. Lumumba Dah Adeh, a former member of the House of Representatives and a former NFF Presidential Aspirant, “the court appearances should be a welcome development to the accuse in the NFF top bracket, as this will provide them ample audience to clear their well-earned reputations’’. Aware that this position may be mild, other stakeholders, like the former NFF President Kojo Williams believes that ‘in any serious nation, all of them should by now have taken a back seat so that the game can move on, particularly when the congress that is supposed to be the supreme body of the NFF has chosen to remain silent having been compromised’.
Mallam Gara Gombe, the former FA Chairman of Gombe State, shares the same sentiments with Kojo Williams and believes the foursome should have resigned their positions and go to clear their names.
With these apprehensions and reactions, many football followers were upbeat hearing that the Minister of Sport and Youth Development was busy holding meeting with NFF Board for far reaching discussions on matters affecting football development and growth. Many watchers thought the Minister was going to address the matter bedeviling the NFF; a holistic cross examination of the NFF and its embroilment in the mess of corruption allegations flying left, right and center. At last the outcome of the meeting left so much to be desired.
First of its kind, a communiqué was issued and signed by the Minister and NFF President. A departure from the normal Minutes of meeting where abstracts will be made available to the Ministry and NFF for agreed areas of action. The meeting has raised some fundamental questions that the Minister must be hard pressed to clarify. Why should a minister of the Federal Republic hold a meeting with a parastatal under his supervision and insist in releasing a communiqué to which he must append his signature?
A close look even showed he signed before NFF President because his signature was appended on the left hand side of the paper.
If this is the new Minister’s style of adding value to sport development in the country then we will be looking forward to him inviting the about 80 federations in the Ministry of Sport for meetings and signing communiqué at the end of each such meetings.
On arrival at the ministry, there were high hopes that Mr. Sunday Dare will not be a minister of football like some of his predecessors in office. But since after his meeting with the NFF Board last Friday, his rating is fast nose diving and we can only pray that he does not end up an errand boy to the NFF big boys. In Nigeria wonders can never end.
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