By Philips Adefioye
Former president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, Dan Ngerem Friday said that the cash for vote allegation levelled against CAF and FIFA executive committee member Dr Amos Adamu is embarrassing not only to him as individual but also to the country as a whole.
Ngerem in an exclusive interview with Sunday Vanguard sports in Lagos, said he was surprised that somebody like Dr Adamu could subject himself to a 90 minutes tape interview or conversation. He said he was yet to understand whether it was inducement or under some influence, adding that the video tape is damning as it were.
The sports administrator said that he could not talk much on the matter until FIFA concludes its investigation after which the decision would be made clearer.
He however, said that it is very regrettable for him as a Nigerian and an African because all the accused persons are Africans.
“As a Nigerian, I am terribly embarrassed that a Nigerian is being mentioned. By the way it is still an allegation but the video tape is damning as it were and I don’t see why somebody will subject himself to a conversation of 90 minutes video tape, I don’t know.
It’s beyond me. I don’t know whether it’s inducement or whether he was under some kind of influence but again as FIFA said when they go through the whole gamut of the investigation, the thing would be made cleared.
“It is regrettable and very sad for me as a Nigerian and as a African for that matter because if you look at it, all the people that are involved in this matter are Africans. Were they targeted? Were they induced ? Is there a conspiracy theory because we just came out of a successful World Cup, in deed the best World Cup ever both in terms of organization, in terms of revenue generation for FIFA? Were we targeted to diminish our achievement ?
Again this investigation would bring things to full but people will have to take personal responsibility for their indiscretion.
“You can remember South Africa missing the World Cup bid to Germany by a vote from the Oceania president as it were and he was acting as if he was in a state of shock. It is a world wide phenomenon, people will do anything to win a bid process because sports has become multi billion dollar business.
“It’s the responsibility of every individual to remain credible, to remain above board. Like I said once, if you happen to be in an international arena, particularly when you are not representing yourself, you are carrying the collective destiny of your people, your country and your continent.”
Ngerem noted that the Nigerian system is corrupt hence when championships are hosted here, no account of how the money voted for it is given, stressing that was the reason people who have these sports at heart have been shouting for the last ten decades.
“We have hosted major championships in the last 20 years, have we any account? We hosted the FIFA World Youth Championship, Nigeria 99, there was the All Africa Games, there was the FIFA Under-17 FIFA World Cup, as well as the biding for the Commonwealth Games for which we spent N2.4 billion, has there been any account to that effect?
“We forget that we are in the digital age now where things are done in real terms. When you are carrying the dysfunctional behaviour in our environment out of the shores of this country, you are exponentially exposing yourself. I am appealing to our government to use this opportunity to clean up our sports in totality.
“We have the potential and the resources are there and as long as we keep operating without accountability, non transparency, the more our people will be embarrassed with similar circumstance we are seeing now. Someone like Habu Gumel in the IOC, if care is not taken will be embarrassed, the last Minister of sports, Sani Ndanusa who has been elected as president of the Nigerian Olympic Committee, NOC, in very funny and orchestrated election should take care and so with any other Nigerian that is carrying our collective destiny in their hands. They must be above suspicion.
“So in totality, it is very sad.
I feel very, very sad as a Nigerian for what is happening because the fact that Africans are the majority that got suspended, it’s just a tragic for us,” Ngerem stressed.