●Storm Gathers Over NFF President
●Sources Say, Presidency Gets Briefing
●Dalung To Be Summoned Too
●As NFF Races Against Time
The fallout of Super Eagles failure to cross the group stage of Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup has led to a fresh crisis brewing and threatening to consume the embattled leadership of Pinnick Melvin Amaju in the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
Yes, the word embattled is deliberately used here given the fact that before the commencement of the World Cup, a dirge was sang against Amaju led NFF by Chris Giwa who tried to invoke court pronouncement to stop Amaju’s board from parading itself as administering football in Nigeria.
Now the World Cup is over and the dirge is back, but, this time, the singers or choristers are from within, not Giwa. We hear that some board members supported by aggrieved staff made a bold move in Russia to rubbish Amaju as they protested and demanded that their boss resigns.
The cause of the protest was the alleged failure of Amaju to carry them along as their hotel bills in Russia were left to them to pay. They frowned at the fact while Amaju allegedly footed the bills of his hangers-on who he allegedly sponsored to Russia, he chose not to settle their bills. At the peak of the protest which started as a mild arguement but later degenerated into a sort of rehearsal of a movie, Amaju allegedly used his credit card to settle debt owed by the protesters.
This move according to sources was meant to nip the protest in the bud but unfortunately the protesters had already informed their media friends who were in Russia to leak the story. Ever since, futile attempts have been made to “kill” the story by persons concerned.
Meanwhile, some of the aggrieved board members who are closed to the corridors of Aso Villa have hinted the Presidency of what they termed reckless spending of funds by Amaju in Russia. They allegedly pointed to the fact that Amaju sponsored about 400 persons to Russia and this gulped a large chunk of the resources of the NFF made available for the tournament.
Sources in Aso Villa say, there is likely going to be a probe on the activities of the NFF as it concerns the World Cup since there are evidence available to support such move.. My source added that the Presidency will summon Sports Minister, Barr. Solomon Dalung to speak on the allegations since he is supervising the football federation, before Amaju will be invited. It is also said that Dalung’s position on the matter will determine if the EFCC will be invited to handle the probe.
The leadership of the NFF yours sincerely gathered has been punching the buttons and knocking on the doors of powerful personalities in the Villa to douse tension of probe and sweep the matter under the carpet on ground that the “noise” is coming from those trying to distract the leadership of the Football House from performing especially as the NFF is already focused on preparation for 2019 AFCON.
Recall that shortly after Super Eagles ouster, Amaju had apologised to President Muhammadu Buhari for the team’s inability to fulfil it’s promise of returning home with the World Cup. He went further to say that the team is a young one hence there is room for improvement as the players have garnered enough experience in Russia. He added that in moving forward, some players like Henry Onyekuru, Nwakali brothers, Junior Lokosa and Kayode Olanrewaju who did not make the Russian party will be invited to help build a better and stronger team for the future starting with the 2019 AFCON.
Amaju’s board has been roundly applauded and commended for Eagles qualification for the World Cup in Russia against all odds. Many say, Amaju deserves a pat on the back for the matured and professional manner he handled the monetary issue with Super Eagles which used to be a major challenge in previous tournaments. Amaju was also praised for the quality of friendlies Eagles played coupled with the overall preparation of the team which was top notch.
However, Amaju’s enemies who are now within are suggesting that his statement after Eagles crash was a mere rhetoric to buy time ahead of the NFF Election to help him strategize in retaining his position as President.
The days ahead will really be telling with loads of events unfolding as the war against Amaju gathers momentum. Fighting such war against outsiders is fairer than waging war from two fronts, outsiders and this time, insiders….the latter could be more dangerous.
By Desmond Ekwueme