By Ayoola Adeleke
Those who live in glass houses like the NFF don’t throw stones they say, and he who wears white don’t romance palm oil if staying safe and clean is anything on his agenda. Football worldwide has become a real business entity and is to be headed by individuals who are expected to be men of integrity and dignity.
But when things get bad under their watchful eyes, then questions need to be asked as to how credible are they in handling the affairs of the offices they are kept to oversee.
Nigeria Football Federation in recent years has come under integrity checks and as such, its leadership credibility should be questioned as the national football administration gets more terrible under their watch. The NFF have got questions to answer taxpayers in the country, the financiers of the country’s economy from which the federation gets funds for its activities.
Various scenes will be mentioned in this article as we look at how clean the NFF have come to curbing corruption which has eroded the glasshouse and could eventually bring it down if things are not sorted accordingly.
Players’ welfare, bribery allegations, slot buying, leagues management, state FAs are trendy issues the NFF have turned deaf ears to, probably being part of, which has in a long way placed a denting mark on the reputation of the Glass House under the leadership of Mr. Amaju Pinnick.
It became scenes of mockery and celebration of mediocrity when the appointment of coaches for the national teams across all stages was married with inconsistency, turbidity, and stratagem. It took the NFF months to appoint coaches for the various national teams with no alibi or whatsoever – and when they did, it was full of criticism, from around quarters of experts of the Nigerian football sphere.
The NFF in one of its inconsistency, when it came up with its politicking on extending Gernot Rohr, the Franco-German tactician, who in some quarter’s view has done tremendously well with the Eagles, since he took over in 2015 from former Captain, Sunday Oliseh who also was butted out of the coaching role due to another political war fought in the Glass House.
Part of the conditions set for Rohr to retain his position as the Coach of the Super Eagles includes: residing in the country and would only be allowed to travel to either his France or Germany base, only three times in a year. This, however, not in tandem with the deal made with Randy Waldrum, in the latter’s recently signed contract with NFF, he is not impelled to live in the country owing to the ground that he still occupies his position as the Coach of the University of Pittsburgh in the United States of America. Glass House of Corruption?
Without NFF, footballers would exist and would have platforms to showcase their God-given talents anywhere around the world. But, how has the real actors been treated in the country? What is the state of players’ welfare in the country – nothing but mere paper talk? How embarrassing it is, to know that the 2017 flamingoes, (to mention out of many) are still been owed their allowances and no one cares to know if they get it or not; no one is calling anyone to order in a house where political-football technocrats flood. Glass House of Corruption?
“The NFF this morning paid N375,000 to the 2016 Flamingos, according to them, it is for qualifying for the Women Under 17 World Cup in Jordan. This is not what is owed the team, I don’t know if they will be paid again or not.”
“For the records, the Flamingos players and officials have received N375,000 from the Nigeria Football Federation after four years of being owed.”
“Each Match won in the qualifiers was supposed to be $1,500 and the Flamingos won the four matches they played against Namibia and South Africa both home and away.”
“For the 16 days, the team stayed in Jordan, each daily allowance was $150, meaning a total of $2,400. So, instead of 6,000 dollars for the four matches, they just paid 375,000.”
The above, is according to one of the officials. Who have these kids (under 17 female players) offended to merit this as a reward for serving their fatherland?
Jacob Uzama, a 70 plus old man once cried out to the world over Douglas Uzama, his late son’s (who represented the national team at both under 17, and under 20 under Coach Emmanuel Amuneke) entitlement for representing the Flying Eagles, still in the hands of the NFF. yet, no one is taking steps to have this old man attended to aside account details collected over four months ago without anything done; Glass House of Corruption?
Many are in this same situation, but the monies allocated and disbursed are nowhere to be found. Funnily, no former or present NFF official has ever talked about being owed in their days in office. This says a lot about how well they have taken care of themselves while abandoning the real actors. Glass House of Corruption!
Is it not as well interesting to be in office for over four years before setting up of players’ statutory committee? A committee that will turn out to be business as usual; a top sports Journalist and football administrator in the country wrote on his Twitter: “In 2018, the NFF appointed some of us into a committee and people congratulated me and I asked why.”
“Most Committees in Nigeria are audio, to fulfill righteousness. None of us got letters of appointment and we never met. I’ve never added committee appointments on my Social Media profile,” he added. But there were committees for jamborees that will feed their pockets, this is nothing but a sign of corruption – of course, not doing things the way they are constitutionally stipulated is nothing but mere corruption.
Basket full of bribery allegations were raised by players who have at one point played in the Super Eagles, some irregularities amongst the coaches, FIFA licensed agents complaining over their players been dropped, because they failed to provide the money asked to bring, so as to be selected for national team’s assignment; multifarious allegations everywhere in the football scene, how warped things have become! Yet, we have people manning our football, none has come out to say anything about this, have anyone prosecuted, have anyone interrogated – Glass House of Corruption?
What is the state of the league? Comatose will be an understatement of what we have seen over the years. The mindset, that you don’t want to step on toes, to make changes should have stopped you from contesting for the position; probably to update their CVs for whatever ambition any of them is nursing. Is the way we run football in our country the same way it’s done in saner climes? Oh well, I just called them saner, so expecting a corrupt house in my opinion work in the same way their contemporaries does sound like nothing, but a mere hope of good things gracing the surface of our football once again.
Where is the prize money for the 2018 Aiteo FA Cup winner, Kano Pillars? It’s not news any longer these clubs not paid fir winning laurels have been out to the media, registering their displeasures; now, the question is, where are these monies? Who is auditing the Glass House, and how have they always been coming with clean books while players and clubs are still not been paid their dues, Glass House of Corruption?
How do we sign Partnership or sponsorship deals with companies and figures are not mentioned, how then do we account for what is earned and what spent? Glass House of Corruption.
You can’t crucify or sentence a man without hearing from him, in a bid to hear from the horse’s mouth on all these allegations, I took time to chat with the President of the glasshouse, via WhatsApp (I refused to call him, you know many of our office holders in Nigeria, they are always busy to talk to you on phone) on two different occasions (8th of July at exactly 8:18 pm local time, and August 5th at 7;33pm local time, both in 2020, the message read, but no reply on the two occasions; probably because I’m not eating from his table drops; this also, not disobedience to the Freedom of Information as signed into law on the 11th May, 2011. Glass House of Corruption.
Haven said all these, it’s not a crime to go back to the drawing board (if at all, it hasn’t broken or too full to wipe) and have a rethink on how they all want to end their office terms; if after eight years, which hasn’t been before for anyone as either President or Vice President and every other position, we still groan over the poor system of administration in the football world, then, that is tantamount to failure.
There’s still enough time to make some possible amendments and positive impacts, if not in all areas. The Glass House can still be the building everyone will stay and mirrors, not where you mirror and all you see is not even yourself, but a stained record of individuals.
Ayoola Adeleke is a Broadcast Journalist with a strong bias for sports reporting; a critical thinker, lover of knowledge, and progressive being.