By Patrick Omorodion
The Nigeria Football Association, NFA is like the nose of a dog, black, and no matter how hard you try to clean it, it will never get white. The NFA house is dirty, full of deceit and fraud and my friend and colleague, Ademola Olajire has been saddled with the daunting task of trying to wipe it clean.
Some weeks ago, I wrote on this page that the city of Durban in the KwaZulu Natal Province of South Africa has adopted the Super Eagles as their World Cup team.
There was no name on earth a top shot of the NFA, who is now cris-crossing the country trying to woo equally greedy State FA chairmen to return him to office in August, didn’t call me.
At the end of it all, it turned out to be true that the Eagles have really been adopted by the city as its World Cup team. When I brought this to the notice of the NFA official, he replied through SMS thus “Does that implies (his own word exactly) footing the bills of the NFF at the World Cup?”
What does adoption mean and why do people or organisations adopt? Why did Pop star, Madonna adopt a little girl from Malawi? Will the little girl live with the music icon and still fend for herself? Even if the city of Durban is not footing all NFA’s bills, it must surely take some part of the bills. That was the crux of my piece. That the government should be aware that some part of the World Cup bill is being taken care of and should be noted when approving the budget.
As if that was not enough, another scam popped up last week, this time, the lid was blown open by a supposed insider, Aisha Falode who most times think I’m too critical. I thank God she herself has now seen how smart her friends in the Glass House can be.
My senior colleague, Etubon Paul Bassey, writing in his column in the Vanguard on Monday, detailed how Falode and a South African newspaper exposed the NFA over securing of a sub-standard hotel as the Eagles abode for the World Cup.
Bassey did not stop there. He re-stated what another Nigerian journalist, Kayode Thomas of the Next newspaper wrote concerning what FIFA pays for players accommodation and what the sub-standard hotel charges for the same accommodation. From the difference in the amount, you don’t need a soothsayer to tell you that the difference would surely end up in someone’s pocket.
Mind you, the NFA has never told government that FIFA pays for anything, be it accommodation, flight tickets and appearance fee, for teams taking part in the World Cup. You can now see why this present NFA postponed elections into the Board till August so as to take charge of the World Cup. That is also why they always fight to get into the Board.
The comfort of the Eagles and their performance at the World Cup do not bother the Sani lulu Abdullahi-led NFA, that is why it would approve a rat whole as hotel for the players, so that it could make some change to fester members’ greedy nest.
This brings me to the newly appointed sports minister/chairman, National Sports Commission, Alhaji Ibrahim Bio. Last week he was in Lagos on facilities inspection and laboured to explain that starting with the World Cup will not make him a football minister.
Nigerians should not castigate him much because the World Cup is very important and should be thoroughly supervised to avoid the flight of the fund government will approve for the Super Eagles.
Alhaji Bio reeled out so many things he will do in his short term as minister. It will be wise for the minister to restrict himself to short and medium term projects and leave the long term ones for his successor.
He should not draw up any new blueprint because there are some already on ground which he can begin to work with. Apart from those by prepared the Director-General of the NSC, Dr. Patrick Ekeji and the Vision 20:2020 Sports Thematic Group, there is also another one presented by the Presidential Advisory Committee on Sports headed by retired Major-General Ishola Williams to President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2007.
So before the NFA rubbishes the name of the country in South Africa, the sports minister should call the NFA to explain the reason for securing a sub-standard hotel for the Eagles.
Their budget should be thoroughly scrutinised and areas of waste or fraud should be removed. Thank God, Kayode Thomas is reported to be working closely with the minister, so he would be able to help him identify the areas through which the NFA officials have planned to siphon government funds.