It has been alleged that the only claim to fame for former Akuku-Toro Local Government chairman Tammy Danagogo was that he was the hound dog used by a new Godfather against an old Godfather.
The reward for agreeing to do this dirty job was to be catapulted as the country’s sports minister.
Danagogo ended up being the “worst ever” sports minister so much so that some of his blunders still haunt the system till this day.
This week, probably out of mischief and seeking some relevance after being away from national spotlight for many years, he sought to render his own account of events leading up to the Super Eagles Round of 16 exit to France at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
He claimed a delay in the payment of a qualification bonus caused the elimination of Nigeria by France at Brazil 2014.
But several top NFF officials I spoke to on this subject have given a sharply different version to what the former minister put out.
One of the officials said: “Nothing could have been farther from the truth because, like was the case with the 2010 World Cup, qualification bonus for the Super Eagles was paid only after the World Cup.
“That would have been after FIFA had made any necessary deductions before making payments to the various teams who featured at the tournament.”
For the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the NFF now armed with the unpleasant experience of the previous tournament got a loan from FIFA and so paid the Eagles for qualifying for the World Cup without any rancor.
Officials familiar with the events in 2014 made it very clear that besides the qualification bonus, the NFF were up-to-date with every other payment concerning the Super Eagles.
The Federal Government through the then National Sports Commission (NSC) arranged for the NFF to be paid by the various rounds of the World Cup.
So, the NFF received from the NSC what was due the team for the first round and paid that out as and when it was due.
After the Eagles advanced to the Round of 16, the secretariat then dashed back to Nigeria to collect what was meant for the team for the knockout rounds.
That was when the Eagles, incited by their coaches as well as rumours that other African teams had been paid such bonuses, embarked on a pay strike which made the wrong headlines across the world.
In between, the players had met with the NFF leadership and it was spelt out clearly to them – you will get your bonus as soon as FIFA pay us.
Danagogo reached out to President Goodluck Jonathan over the pay row causing the minister to fly back to Brazil on a presidential jet loaded with $3.6 million from the Government and another $200,000 from telecoms magnate Mike Adenuga.
“Against all known protocols, the minister directly paid the team,” another official informed.
The story then was that the boys spent the whole night counting their cash and the next day they crashed out of the Mundial without much of a fight.
But we also know that was not the end of the drama especially as it concerned the $3.6 million, which even before the team landed in Brazil one top-ranking official had openly demanded 50 million Naira from it for his gubernatorial campaign.
Government officials later claimed this sum of money was only a loan to the NFF and so it had to be repaid once they received payment from FIFA.
The House committee on sports will later clarify this grant – the $3.6 million was sourced from a five billion Naira sports intervention fund approved for President Jonathan and so the NFF did not need to repay it.
The NFF finance committee also deliberated on this and resolved that a formal application be made to the relevant authorities so that the executive committee could sit and decide on how to spend the cash for their programmes.
Musa Amadu, who was at the time the NFF secretary general, will later lose his job when he bluntly refused to transfer this same $3.6 million to a Central Bank account as directed by his immediate bosses.
The biggest poser now is – how and when did this $3.6 million grow wings away from the NFF?