By Patrick Omorodion
There is a popular cliche which says there is no smoke without fire underneath. Most truths in Nigeria first begin like a rumour and because Nigerians are mostly doubting Thomases, they fail to act on time.
When the rumour filtered in that General Ibrahim Babangida would annul the 1993 presidential election if the Social Democratic Partyâ€™s candidate, Basorun MKO Abiola wins, Nigerians never believed until it came to past.
It was also rumoured that the former maximum ruler, the late General Sani Abacha was about transmuting into a civilian president as the five political parties that existed at the time were going to adopt him as their sole candidate, many waved it aside.
And most recently, another rumour had it that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was planning to joggle the constitution to allow him run a third time, the first time it would happen in the countryâ€™s history. Even though some people believed it, many others said it could never happen in Nigeria. Everybody saw how it later played out until it was shot down.
And now in sports and football in particular, there is another rumour in the air about Nigeriaâ€™s participation in this summerâ€™s FIFA World Cup holding in South Africa. And it is that South Africaâ€™s city of Durban has adopted the Super Eagles as their team for the World Cup even though their team, Bafana Bafana is participating.
By the alleged adopting, the city is expected to foot most of the bills of the team while they camp there, preparing and actually participating for the World Cup. It is a tourism strategy for the host. Sensing that the Eagles have a large follower ship and that most of their Nigerian fans and foreigners alike would swarm their abode for the World Cup, Durban authorities took the decision to adopt the Eagles and give the NFA those incentives.
For now, nobody in the NFA is saying anything on this because as usual, they will draw up a bogus budget for the Federal Government and the money, as expected, will find its way into the pockets of officials.
It is always the case during previous World Cups as the NFA gets some funds for the team but it is never declared. Until recently, the people and government never knew that FIFA pays participating teams some money, that FIFA flies teams to the World Cup venue and some other sundry money which never got to be declared.
Even in the past, FIFA gives grants to federations but in Nigeria it was never declared. It took the agitation of some players in the mould of Sunday Oliseh to ask questions on the need to share participation fees to players for the truth to come out.
Therefore, though the Durban largesse may sound like a rumour now, the Sports Minister, Engineer Sani Ndanusa and the NSC Director-General, Chief Patrick Ekeji should investigate it thoroughly to ascertain its veracity or lack of it before government approves the World Cup budget for the NFA. By so doing, the country and her tax paying citizens will not again be short-changed by greedy football administrators.