NFF’s market square naked dance

By Daily Sports on January 2, 2017

Views: 27,011

Happy New Year as we pray to safely journey through 2017. I did promise in the last edition of this column that I will unveil the garbage the NFF bigwigs, Amaju Pinnick and Shehu Dikko said in a television programme in Abuja penultimate week.

It is instructive to note that after their ‘thorough’ job meant to deceive the unsuspecting public and fans of the game, the bubble burst instead, and many revelations of wrong doings in the nation’s football house came tumbling in. The game is up for them. It was more hens, home to roost. The market square naked dance remains shameful. The scandal emanating from the house of football is enormous and dripping. What explanation any one of them or gang may come up with is after thought, faulty, diversionary, wiping up of sentiment the cat is out of the bag, Period.

I must be frank; such miscalculation by the duo left the apex football body choked and full blooded. It was one goof they regretted to embark upon. They were thoroughly bruised. Facts upon facts have been flying in. They were weighty and intriguing. There have been struggles to debunk them but to no avail.

For instance, former assistant coach of the Super Eagles, Daniel Amokachi said point blank that football agents bribe coaches to fix their players in the national team. The ex-international was emphatic about it and because of its far reaching implications, NFF General Secretary, Sanusi Mohammed, came up with defence. However, as much as he tried to put a lie to it, the more he led the audience into the wrong happenings in the body. He called on Amokachi to name names.

The latest is the short change of the Eagles players over bonus from Nigeria/Algeria WCQ game in Uyo. When the news filtered out, the NFF denied ever and even said Samson Siasia was in the meeting where it agreed one million naira with the players. To their dismay, Siasia quickly came out to call NFF leadership serial liars. Then where is their refuge. Now Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung said the bonus issue will be investigated. Short changing of players dates back and it is a collective crime in the body. When players cry foul, they would be labeled indiscipline. I would have reserved my comments if Pinnick and Dikko had allowed the sleeping dog to lie.   

Actually, it marked a watershed in the present NFF calendar, it hardly replies enquiries. This one came because they are under fire. They are presently in the eye of the storm since government announced its intention to look into their books. It was fear of the unknown that led Pinnick and Dikko to AIT sports programme where they fatally shot themselves on the leg.

For the first time also, the leadership in other to divert attention, published how and what it ‘spent’ money on. This is one of the most arrogant NFF leadership in history; after the short lived Kojo Williams regime that was characterised by headiness and deceit like the present FG.

Truth is NFF stinks, no matter their trivial defence. The current leadership came to worsen it with it’s out of this world emptiness, spiced with self-importance as if it has anything to offer. The body, as it is today, is the more you look, the less you see. It was how Amaju Pinnick ran football and other sports in Delta State which left sports in that state kissing the dust immediately he bought his way to lead the largest and most influential football federation in the continent.

Please read their defence on FIFA’s audit query of the multi-USD millions development grant given for the development of the game in this country:  President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, and the 2nd Vice President/LMC Chairman, Shehu Dikko, ‘tackled’ several issues that have been raised persistently, and even most recently in Nigerian Football, insisting that negative statements and far-reaching allegations are never in the interest of the game.

While appearing on ‘Focus Nigeria’, a talk show on Africa Independent Television, the two NFF bigwigs tore apart talks of financial recklessness, division within the Board, late submission of memos on matches of the national teams and the FIFA audit query.

Pinnick said various distractions and negative statements and write-ups about Nigerian football are driving away investors.

His words: “You wake up every day and all you see are screaming, negative headlines that are daily punching holes in the fabric of the game. Investors aim to associate with what is positive and credible, but our sports have been savaged by negativity.

“There have been various interpretations to a simple FIFA audit query, which is confidential and a matter between the FIFA-appointed auditor and NFF, but it has been blown beyond proportion and people are even saying NFF embezzled money. It is ridiculous because all FIFA is asking for is clarification on why we have to lump their monies with other monies, and the issue of receipting of cash transactions.” (The use of T-10 form).

Pinnick disclosed that the NFF actually informed the Minister of Youth and Sports, Barr. Solomon Dalung on request, about the audit matter, in the mode of always keeping him informed of all happenings in the NFF.

He said: “If the NFF had anything to hide with regards to the audit query, would the Federation have informed the Minister about it? The two issues FIFA raised were receipting of cash transactions and the matter of dedicated account, which we always had but which had to be merged with other accounts because of the TSA (Treasury Single Account) policy. However, the CBN has now been able to open a domiciliary account for us within our single account and we have forwarded this to FIFA. No one should make mountain out of a molehill.”

Dikko, who is the Chairman of the Marketing, Sponsorship and Television Advisory Committee of the NFF, said aggressive and robust marketing embarked upon by the administration to augment what comes from Government has always been undermined by celebration of what is negative by other forces.

Said he: “We need to re-evaluate the funding for sports in this country. The NFF proposed a budget of nearly N7 billion to cater for all matches and tournaments of the National Teams this year, but got only N1.1 billion. Yet, one Super Eagles match cost around N200 million. Let me categorically state here that it was not negative statements anything that hurt Nigerian Football, the so called leadership are the major problem of football in Nigeria.

“For the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, the sum of N18 million was apportioned! On the part of the Federation, we embarked on aggressive marketing but negative hints and pronouncements about football have continued to discourage investors.”

But I say na lie! Administration of the game in the land remains the root cause. In short, it is rotten. When accountability is thrown to the wind, how would investors from the private sector near such house of fraud and half-truth.

Dikko wondered where the money is in NFF that people always talk about corruption and persons stealing money. He said: “Take Ibrahim Galadima, Sani Lulu Abdullahi, Aminu Maigari and those who served on their boards; which of them is a billionaire? If there is money in NFF and so much to steal, they would be billionaires.

“We are working on a new strategy to get funding for all the National Teams, like getting corporate bodies to take up each of the teams, but we need peace and tranquility to achieve this.

“The present NFF is committed to probity, transparency and accountability. The NFF Integrity Initiative adopted at the Annual General Assembly is meant to promote these.”

Pinnick reiterated that the company that audits NFF accounts, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, is also the same company that audits FIFA’s accounts. “We called them in at the inception of our administration because we want to do things differently. We want to be accountable and be seen to be transparent. They have advised on a couple of principles and we have taken those to heart,” he said.

So what? These tales from Dikko, I have some good measure of respect for leaves sour taste in the mouth. He will likely head the next NFF. Unfortunately, he allowed himself to be used for lies that backfired.

The NFF President also vehemently denied allegations that he spoke harsh words to the Super Falcons when they arrived from Cameroon.

“I have a lot of respect for women. It was I, Dikko, the captain (Rita Chikwelu) and myself that spoke on a three-way call, and we never uttered any harsh words to them. Even if they did not win the competition, nobody would have spoken harsh words to them. Women are our mothers,” Pinnick affirmed, indeed. While disclosing that the Federation sent the memo on the championship to the Ministry of Youth and Sports early enough, he also reiterated that the immediate target of the present administration is to provide all the support for the Super Eagles to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals. “We do not just want the team to qualify, but to go to Russia and break new grounds, set new records, possibly win the World Cup,” he said, while confirming that there is no division within the NFF. Who cares?

You must have read the sentiments above, full of holes. It was to save face and their deeds, it never held water. Pointedly, Amaju accused the media he divided along lines. He has his journalists. The media being weeping men of inept government and its agencies came under hammer. It was just for the fun of it. He has almost all of them in his pocket. We knew what he uses to pat them on the back. Without any prejudice, what we need in the next NFF is a person in the region of FIFA President, Gianni Infantino that would cleanse the rot, a true reformer. This is something that needs to be discussed. The next NFF has to be inclusive and peopled with proactive members that know their onions.

We want NFF that will make the whole country lives and breathes football. Everyone gets interested. Amaju and his men are kill sport. They are under intensive pressure and searchlight. It is self-inflicted. The other day in an exclusive chat with Daily Sports, Christian Chukwu, one man that has seen all facets of the game, vehemently criticised the body over the bitter pills it forced down on the throats of the Super Falcons players. Pinnick has been making statements to save face, hear him: NFF will do better in 2017. Pinnick reviewed the 2016 performance of NFF under his watch, noted: though, it was a very rough and tough year for the federation, this year promised to be a great one.

“Generally, I will say, with all sense of objectivity, it was a kind of mixed fortune for Nigerian football in 2016. In terms of technology and new thinking in global football, we have signed up for the Domestic Transfer Matching System (DTMS), the Intermediary Regulatory Tool (IRT), the FIFA Connect and FIFA Integrity programmes,” he said.

According to him, “in terms of the politics of the game and funding, I won’t rate us very well. That’s the truth. We have not been able to live up to expectation in that area.” He noted that the NFF had its ups and downs and was not very proud of some of the downs.

This write-up is a near-complete dossier of what is left of the NFF. The body that accountability is alien to. It is a terrain dominated by gangsters, where sharp practices of all kinds thrive and nourished glowingly.

Let me be honest with you, we like single words, single stories. I detest our intellectual shallowness, laziness, ineptitude and lack of analytical discipline. This is why we shall continue to turn in circles with no difference between the quality of ideas from the Glass House in Abuja. Amaju and Dikko flew ‘political’ kite which is fine, but it does not scratch the surface of our problems in football. They can safely be referred to as sound bites.

However, we are keenly watching how the government searchlight goes, if it is not another kite flying step, a mere fallacy. NFF is bad study whose chapters are too ugly to open. Meanwhile, keep shooting hard. Discussion Continues! Till next week!!

Source Daily Sports

Posted January 2, 2017


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