The question on the lips of many is how did Fortune Chukwudi Golden Eaglets captain pass the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test first conducted at the National Hospital in Abuja and the subsequent test performed in Qatar where the team prepared for the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
Since the news broke out that 15 Golden Eaglets players failed the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test carried out in Abuja few weeks to the kick off of the 13th edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, the issue has been on the burner and the NFF have done everything to keep the issue quiet.
Two weeks ago, Barrister Adokie Amiesimaka in his weekly column in a national newspaper said the U-17 team captain Fortune Chukwudi was over aged, stating that the fellow played for him seven years ago in his feeder team as 18 years old. The NFF reacted by calling the ex international names and the Port Harcourt based lawyer fired back saying their reaction was childish.
This week, Adokie reveals that some NFF bigwigs James Peters, Taiwo Ogunjobi and other willfully evaded the Golden Eaglets from taking part in the second MRI test scheduled for the same Abuja National Hospital. According to Adokie, the players failed to show up and kept the medics waiting in vain. Adokie went further to prove his case by publishing the picture of Chukwudi with other members of the Sharks Feeder team in 2002.
â€œSpeaking the truth for the sake of â€œTruthâ€ there was no 2nd MRI test on the players. They cleverly and willfully evaded it despite the National Sports Commissionâ€™s insistence.
â€œAfter the revelation on the percentage that failed the first MRI test carried out at the National Hospital, Abuja, they refused to show up for the 2nd test at the same place while the sports medics waited in vain. James Peters, Ogunjobi and NFF bigwigs willfully did the evasion despite Ekejiâ€™s insistence when he intervened. The team captain presently is not amongst those randomly picked for testâ€, Adokie said in a text message forwarded to Saturday Sports.
â€œI have nothing against anybody, but I am worried that we are cheating ourselves, our children because we want to win a competition by all means. I have always been motivated by the best interests of my country, but the people at the NFF do not see it that way. They say I want them to fail. How can that be when they have already put themselves in a difficult situationâ€, he added.
Amiesimaka was quoted to have said that he has documentary evidence to back up his allegation that Nigeria Under-17 captain Fortune Chukwudi is ineligible for the tournament. He also hit back at the NFF for questioning his motives in calling out the player.
Writing again in his weekly column, Adokie stated: â€œIn all humility, as a legal practitioner with over 30 years post call experience and a man priviledged to have been the Hon. Attorney_General and Commissioner of Justice of a state, I will not speak about such a matter in the public domain without being sure of my facts.
â€œAnd there is documentary evidence kept in a secure place attesting what I have said about
Adokie went on to accuse the NFF of complicity in the age fraud.
â€œIf our sports authorities had any sense of responsibility or appreciated the seriousness of the matter and were not party to this fraud, instead of running from one media house to another disrespectfully calling me names, what they should have done was to immediately cause an independent body to investigate it.
â€œFrom available evidence, it would not have taken more than a few minutes to determine the truth.â€
He added that Chukwudi was not the only ineligible player in the team. â€œAgain, he is not the only ineligible player in the team. And that is why I can boldly say that the MRI scan is a scam, at least to the extent of the thorough screening of the host team.
â€œOf course, other teams should be tested too, but what concerns me is the integrity of our team.â€
And for those questioning his timing, Amiesimaka had this to say:
â€œI could not have talked seriously about this player or any of the others earlier because the sports authorities did not give us the opportunity to see them play any major friendly matches before the tournament began.
â€œAnd you do not make a serious allegation without seeing the players whose names you have only read in the newspaper. Who does not know that as some of the players falsify their ages, so too do they adopt names other than their own?â€
And as if daring the NFF to take him to court, Amiesimaka turned the knife in further by saying age fraud was an officially_sanctioned policy.
â€œNot that any earlier warning would have would have meant anything to the sports authorities anyway in view of their publicly acknowledged resolve to cheat in order to realise their win at all costs objective.
â€œRemember the controversial interviews the officials gave earlier this year confirming that it was official policy to use over_aged players?â€ Amiesimaka also pointed out that he had previously advised the NFF, both in private and in public, about putting their house in order and chronicled his previous articles on the issue dating back to 2007 after Nigeria won the Under_17 World Cup in Korea, 15 articles after that on age cheating, and one last March detailing how the authorities could â€œraise and nurture a credible Under-17 team for this tournament.â€
Additionally, he pointed to a four-part serial he wrote advising the sports minister on â€œwhat he could do to ensure that we did not present a team that would embarrass usâ€.
He added that despite the hostile posture of the sports authorities, he has never hesitated to reach out to them, recalling NFF board member Taiwo Ogunjobiâ€™s â€œpublished reaction surprising reaction to my articles thanking me for the quality of my observations and suggestions.â€
â€œI have always been motivated by the best interests of my country. And yet they say I want them to fail. How can that be when they have stubbornly strayed into a quagmire and failed already?â€
He made it clear that he was not interested in any position, citing instances where he turned down a federal appointment, and when he resigned in 1999 as LOC member and Chairman of the Port Harcourt sub_seat of the FIFA Under_20 World Cup Nigeria 99 based on principle and goes on to take a dig at the NFF:
â€œI am filled with an overwhelming sense of outrage that those who have never rendered true service to their country, but have only used public office to blindly pursue selfish interests have the effrontery to question my patriotism.
â€œI was privildeged to attend CMS Grammar School, Bariga, Lagos. I knew the true meaning of selfless service when I became a senior prefect in 1974/1975.
â€œFrom that time through university and Law School, it was my honour and priviledge to play for my country juggling the rigours of academics and elite sports without complaint, but with pride and equanimity.â€