By Patrick Omorodion
After the late President, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua ended the stranglehold of Dr Amos Adamu on Nigeriaâ€™s sports by posting him out of the Sports Ministry, the Ogbomosho-born administrator is fighting his way back again.
How is he doing it? He wants to ensure the Nigeria Football Association, NFA Board which he imposed on the country after allegedly using a group of so-called stakeholders to remove Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima, returnsÂ in an arrangee election planned for August.
Nigerians are unanimous in the call that Alhaji Sain Lulu Abdullahi and his co-travellers in the NFA should quit the Board after their glaring failure to properly manage the nationâ€™s football.
Adamu pretends he loves Nigeriaâ€™s football. He used is position in the sports ministry to climb to enviable positions in football in the west African sub-region, Africa and the world. He is president of WAFU, Executive Committee member of both CAF and FIFA.
To ensure he remains relevant in these bodies, he must ensure the people who run football in the country are his loyalists who must do his bidding, irrespective of whether football is retrogressing in the country.
The NFA has continued to fumble and cause the country embarrassments over the Super Eagles World Cup qualification and participation. From the near non qualification to the bungled hotel arrangement, the issue of venue for friendly matches and the botched charter flight from London to even the missing $236,000 from their office. And now the worst may yet happen, Eagles bundled out of the World Cup after giving Lars Lagerback a semi final mandate in the 2010 World Cup.
In each of this issues listed, none did Dr Adamu consider it fit to comment or blame the NFA. Even when the Sports Minister/Chairman of the National Sports Commission, NSC, Alhaji Ibrahim Bio intervened on behalf of the government, Dr Adamu never uttered a word, but now he is working subterraneously to incite FIFA against Nigeria on claims of interference.
When government budgeted and released the sum of over N900 million to the NFA for the World Cup, Alhaji Sain Lulu and Dr Adamu never mentioned interference or attempted to report to FIFA.
When $236,000 was stolen from the NFA coffers, no one reported to FIFA. Does FIFA condone stealing or corruption? I donâ€™t think so because its erstwhile secretary general, Urs Linsi who connived with the Adamu group of stakeholders in the fraudulent election that ousted Alhaji Galadima was shown the way out. It was believed he compromised.
The NFA recently created 14 sub-committees where it accommodated several people, including all state FA chairmen Lulu wants to compromise to return him for a second term at the August election.
It is even alleged that the NFA included the two wives and four children of Alhaji Lulu as well as a recharge card seller from his native Kogi as members of the NFA delegation to the World Cup, all at the expense of the NFA. Even the judge who handed down the night judgment in the missing (or stolen?) $236,000 is alleged to be on the World Cup train, courtesy of the NFA.
President Goodluck Jonathan was at the Opening Ceremony of the World Cup but we are not aware that he included all members of his household on the trip at the expense of government. If Lulu decides to carry all his household and kinsmen from his native Igala at his own expense no one will grudge him. But at the expense of government, then the EFCC should visit him.
Apart from the bloated NFA delegation to South Africa, the Board members are busy campaigning for election, an action that can distract the Super Eagles. And like he did to rescue the country over the messy hotel arrangement and botched Charter Flight in London, the sports minister, it was learnt, promptly wrote to the NFA, asking members to shelve all campaigns and face the business of the World Cup they were in South Africa for.
To counter the minister and ostensibly acting the script of their Godfather, the NFA is alleged to have reported to FIFA that the minister wants to tamper with their election process. They want to fly the usual FIFA ban kite to harass the same government that is funding them.
Adamu succeeded during the Obasanjo era because it was alleged he got close to the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo through the game of squash and being members of a farmersâ€™ council. He was also alleged to have warmed his way into Chief Obasanjoâ€™s heart by settling all the debts the NFA owed the Obasanjo farms when the Super Eagles camped there while the former president was in jail over an alleged coup.
Again we hear that he wants to warm his way into President Jonathanâ€™s heart through his Chief of Staff, Chief Michael Oghiadomhe in order to block all complaints about the NFA brought to President Jonathan.
President Jonathan should not be deceived by these men. He should do for football what he has done for INEC by appointing a credible chairman in Dr Attahiru Jega by allowing a thorough probe of the Lulu-led Board and give the NFA delegates the right to vote according to their conscience.
He should also not be deceived by the talk about FIFA ban for Nigeria over interference. Government funds football and should ask for accountability. The true position of the missing $236,000 should be ascertained. It is not enough to jail innocent security men when men who hold the key to the office where the money was kept were set free. Remember there was no breakage into the office.
It also laughable to know that judgement on the case was delivered in the night when the court should have closed for the day. Why would a Judge deliver judgement in the night and give the alleged thieves a meagre fine of N3,000 and N5,000 for an amount in the region of N40 million. Something must be fishy here.
Again the prosecution dragged on for a very long time and would have been swept under the carpet were it not for the persistent insistence from Nigerians that the matter be investigated. Again has anyone asked why about three prosecuting police officers handled the case? One of them allegedly died in the process while another abandoned the case. The one who concluded the case is alleged to be of the same tribe with the NFA chairman.
Will President Jonathan allow himself to be pocketed by a cabal like was done to Chief Obasanjo who turned blind eyes while Nigeriaâ€™s football went under? President Jonathan has started well, he should not allow the cabal to use his right hand man, Chief Oghiadomhe to finally kill the game Nigerians love so much.
He should listen more and support his sports minister. No matter what anyone may say, if the late President Yarâ€™Adua never listened to his first sports minister, Alhaji Abdulrahman Gimba at all, Dr Adamu would still have remained in sports helping in its further ruination.