Many of the allegations of fraud and monumental corruption in the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) are real and will be proved were investigations to be properly handled.
The rut in the NFF explains why while Nollywood and Nigerian music have gone on to add real value to their act that they are today multi-million dollar concerns, Nigeria football, once the country’s standard bearer, has continued to lag far behind.
Rather those running the sport are forever contented to enjoy “easy money” mainly from the government.
The sport could be a booming industry here too, but instead it has become an avenue for a handful of greedy, self-serving charlatans to continue to feed fat on what should have transformed this Beautiful Game.
This explains the crazed and rabid desperation that headlined the recent elections into the NFF executive committee in Katsina.
Or how can one justify that delegates were allegedly induced with between $10,000 and $15,000 to re-elect the Amaju Pinnick-led committee in its entirety?
“Someone broke the bank and there was bribery in the NFF elections,” alleged NFF presidential aspirant and owner of NNL side Bimo Sporting Club Chinedu Okoye.
“No one voted for me despite all the assurances and the anger against Pinnick.
“I also want the Nigeria police to investigate what happened in Katsina.”
If truly the anti-graft agency hopes to bring this case to a logical conclusion, it has to charge the principal officials of the NFF related to this case because those charged could not have done anything without their approval
Many true stakeholders of Nigeria football celebrated the fight against corruption initiated by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari because they believe the search light will finally be beamed on the many underhand dealings in the national sport so as to move it forward.
For those who do not know, the NFF is a government parastatal and under the direct supervision of the ministry of youth and sports with more than 90% of their budget funded by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The government therefore has the right to know how tax payers’ money is used at the Glasshouse.
An administrative panel set up by the sports ministry has only recently completed its findings into the management of finances by the NFF and we have since learnt the verdict has been most damning.
It would also be recalled that some years ago, external auditors Pricewater Cooper refused to give an opinion after it had audited the books of the football federation.
Such was the gravity of this indictment that the audited report of the NFF was not circulated at the Annual General Assembly in Lagos then.
The EFCC under the leadership of Ibrahim Magu, a fine officer and a dogged anti-corruption fighter, this week tried to arraign three NFF officials before the FCT High Court for allegedly diverting a staggering 3.4 billion Naira or $9.5 million FIFA grant meant for the development of Nigeria football.
This has ushered renewed hope that even though it may have been late in coming, at least officials are now being made to be accountable.
But in doing so, one would expect the EFCC to be professional and diligent in how it goes about bringing to book those who have lined up their pockets in the name of administering football in this country.
If truly the anti-graft agency hopes to bring this case to a logical conclusion, it has to charge the principal officials of the NFF related to this case because those charged could not have done anything without their approval.
At the NFF, the president, Amaju Pinnick, is the approving authority with the general secretary Mohammed Sanusi and the head of finance signatories to the accounts.
It is also a known fact that Festus Keyamo SAN has been a lawyer for Pinnick and the NFF.
He is also a lawyer for the EFCC.
No person should be above the law and Magu, who enjoys the full confidence of President Buhari, should ensure that the EFCC under his watch carry out a thorough investigation into allegations of fraud and corruption in the NFF.
Well-meaning Nigerians are fed up with cover ups and Mickey Mouse trials that have continued to give the fight against corruption a bad name.
It is also a known fact that Festus Keyamo SAN has been a lawyer for Pinnick and the NFF. He is also a lawyer for the EFCC