A document surfaced yesterday, detailing the resolutions of a meeting between the Honourable Minister of Sports and Youth Development of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Sunday Dare, and the Board members of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) led by Amaju Pinnick
While there is nothing wrong with the Minister convening a meeting with the NFF, which is a parastatal under his jurisdiction, there are a few embarrassing errors and/or insinuations that can be extracted from the document.
Alongside these errors, tons of questions naturally follow in hot pursuit in attempt to make sense of the shocker contained within the said document
The most glaring and embarrassing error is the cosigning of the document by the Minister and the NFF President.
This is not just an anomaly but a cataclysmic disaster with far reaching insinuations
1. The Minister represents the President and the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and thus, cannot carelessly append his signature of any piece of document for the leisure of it such as the one in question.
2. Once the Minister decides to sign on the document (which is uncalled for here), Pinnick who is his underling, cannot cosign on the same document as it automatically means that they are equals and the document is invalid without Pinnick’s signature, which is not just an insult to the Office of the Minister but a National embarrassment to the seal of Office of the Presidency which the Ministry represents
3. The Minister has a media department which should put out press releases on such issues should he decide to publicise it, but NOT appending his signature.
4. The Minister through the Ministry, issues press releases NOT communiques.
5. In a case such as this, perhaps as show of good faith, the Minister should have directed the document to the Director of the Ministry to sign on behalf of the Ministry as the Director of the Ministry is on the same level as the NFF President. Even the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, is superior to the NFF President and cannot even sign on such a worthless document
6. By appending his signature besides Pinnick’s, the Minister unbeknownst to him, has arrogated powers to the NFF President, making him just as powerful as himself thereby, placing all other federations under the NFF which is tantamount to having a parallel ‘ministry’
While the errors listed above still linger, then comes the most confusing part of the whole issue and the questions therein:
1. Does the Minister not know that Pinnick and key members of the NFF Board are currently under investigation by the Federal Government of Nigeria?
2. Is the Minister not aware that Pinnick was recently released from detention in relation to charges of crimes of money laundering, embezzlement and misuse of powers of office?
3. If the Minister is aware of the above issues, why then did he choose to not only invite them, but append his signature on the same document as Pinnick, while he is still being investigated? Is this not a sign of undermining the ongoing investigations?
4. If the Minister is aware of the above issues, why did he not encourage the suspects to resign and vacate their positions, given the circumstances, pending the conclusion of the issue, as is the global practise in institutions of integrity?
5. We saw the Head of Service resign over corruption charges so why isn’t the Minister keen on employing the same practise in the NFF?
6. By refusing to address the elephant in the room and acknowledging Pinnick, is it safe to assume that the NFF is truly bigger than or superior to the Ministry?
7. Should we be concerned about the integrity of the Minister? Exclusive reports suggest that the Minister was taken to Zurich by Pinnick a few days ago. If that is true, well it explain the shocking things that have unfolded lately? If yes, what was the Minister doing in Zurich with Pinnick yet the Minister was absent at the opening and closing ceremonies of the just concluded Sports Festival at Illorin, organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development?
8. By agreeing with the NFF on the article 9 of the communique, is it not implicating evidence that the NFF has not been running efficient management of resources, thereby confirming the suspicion of criminality in the inner workings of the NFF by the Minister himself?
Even as the EFCC report on the irregularities in the NFF accounts to the tune of about $16m since 2014 till date has mysteriously been suppressed, the Honourable Minister must do well to look where he steps cos yonder, there be snakes!
By Ugochukwu ‘Thanos’ Ifeanyi