By Richard Animam
Chairman of Delta State Sports Â Â Â Commission Pinnick Amaju is oneÂ man whoÂ definitely is not loved by all in Delta State. There are talks of him of being proud, high-handed but the young man has in so many ways being able to do is job well.
Few weeks back, Amaju who helped Warri Wolves finish fourth on the Globacom Premier League and as we speak are on the verge of representing Nigeria at the CAF Confederations Cup, put some Delta team up for sale, owing to the inability of the state government to continue funding of the clubs. .Â His decision did not go down well with affected team officials, players and indigenes who queried the rationale behind his action. Hard hit was Delta Force FC which was disbanded.
Having read our report last week,Â Amaju called and revealed why the team was disbanded and also talked about the accusations from some section of Delta State sports writers. â€œWhen governor Emmanuel Uduaghan came into office, he said, he wanted to fund only two clubs, based on which he studied Delta Force and Warri Wolves FC and went on to say that it would depend on which team secures promotion to the elite division. Prior to his coming to office, Delta State had five teamsÂ funded by the state government-Warri Wolves, Delta Force, Isoko United, Okpe United and Delta Queens. But one thing we have to understand, is that each administration has a number of priorities. For former Abia State governor Orji Uzor Kalu, Enyimba was a priority and he led the team to lifting the CAF Champions League twice. For Lagos State governor Raji Fashola roads and infrastructures were his priorities. For Governor Uduaghan, health, completion of projects from past administration, infrastructures and sports are his priorities.
â€œBut in the area of sports, he had to scale down on his choices. So he said the state will fund two clubs instead of five. Warri Wolves gained promotion and secured one of the slots. There was a time the governor said he was not going to fund any club, I had to beg him to change his mind. Unlike the last administration which had 100 percent revenue from derivation, the present administration gets 50 percent and gives DESOPADEC the balance of 50 percent. I am saying all these things so that people can understand the challenges the governor is going through. On the issue of other teams in the state,Â I wrote to all the chairmen of Delta north, telling them to raise N5m each for us to run the clubs but none responded. I wrote to Okpe and Sapele people, Isoko LGA and there was no response. So I had to put them on sale. If I did not do that, the governor will not listen to me next year. I donâ€™t understand why some people are complaining, it is not a must that Delta State have 30 teams. If the Aniomas are complaining, what about Delta central, they have more people in the state. Is there any club there? Look at Enyimba, it is not based in Umuahia, the state capital. They are based in Aba and Abia people take the team as their own. Must Delta state have a team from the state capital? Amaju queried. On the issue of stoppingÂ journalists from covering the FIFA inspection, Amaju said he acted on instructions of both the state governor and FIFA.
â€œDuring the crisis, Warri was in the news and Governor called me that he does not want noise. Even FIFA said they do not want any journalists around, because they wanted to do a thorough job (I can email their mail to you) so I was surprised when I got to the stadium and saw journalists around. So I told my Special Assistant on Media that he should allow them because they are the Ministerâ€™s group but when FIFA comes, he should ask them politely to goâ€, he said.