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Amadu’s Resignation… Echoes From The Glass House



NFF President, Amaju Pinnick says Amadu was not loyal

IT was a decision that stunned many Nigerian football followers. The resignation by Musa Amadu from his position as Secretary General of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), last Wednesday continues to stir hot argument in various quarters.
To some soccer fans, Amadu’s decision to quit such lucrative position might have some political undertones. He is seen as a cat with nine lives, having survived stormy weather in the past.

Under the Aminu Maigari’s administration, Amadu acted as NFF Secretary General for three years amidst call, especially from sports administrators in the South that the pairing was abnormal.

To them, the decision by Maigari to stick to Amadu as secretary of the NFF was an incongruity, considering the fact that both of them are from the same North geo-political zone.

But the more ‘protests’ against his continued stay in office, the more powerful Amadu became. He was later confirmed as Secretary General of the body, an action some football followers described then as ‘silent coup’ by the Maigari-led board.
Amadu’s relationship with some of the Board members soon went sour, when he was perceived to have grown wings, prompting intense pressure on Maigari to sack him. But Maigari stood his grounds and the Jigawa State-born lawyer-turned-sports-administrator (Amadu) survived.

Again, in the build up to Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup, there was a renewed call that Amadu must go. Some of the Board members were said to have threatened to resign, if Maigari refused to sack him. But Amadu ‘played’ his way out of the intimidation and threats.

When the new NFF board headed by Amaju Pinnick assumed duty in September last year, there were calls in some quarters to replace Amadu as the Secretary General. He allegedly went missing for about one week during the NFF crisis, and was accused at some point of selling out. Even his role in Lucerne, Switzerland, during the CAS hearing involving the NFF and Chris Giwa, also brought to questioning his loyalty to the new Board.
His resignation from the NFF last Wednesday, has thrown up series of argument. While some are pointing accusing fingers in the direction of the NFF President (Pinnick), that he forced Amadu to quit, following disagreements over disbursements, others say Amadu acted fast to save his face, after seeing handwriting of sack on the wall.


Musa Amadu resigned as NFF Scribe

But the NFF President has opened up on the circumstances that led to Amadu’s resignation from the NFF.
Speaking with The Guardian in Lagos on Friday, Pinnick took his time to do analysis of some of the steps taken by Amadu, which according to him could have pitched the National Sports Commission (NSC), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Presidency against the NFF.

“I don’t want to be discouraged because I am really determined to re-package Nigerian football,” Pinnick told The Guardian. “As president of the NFF, it is my duty to protect the image of the Federation, because if anything goes wrong, especially concerning money, it is my name that Nigerians will call. Nobody will direct accusing fingers in the direction of the Secretariat.

“We are all aware of the fatherly role played by President Goodluck Jonathan during the World Cup in Brazil, when our players refused to train over issues concerning their share from the FIFA money. Then, the Presidency made it clear that it was borrowing $3.6m to the NFF to pay the players, to avoid international embarrassment in Brazil.

“As at the time we received the FIFA money ($9 million), the NFF was in debt of over N4 billion ($10.4m and N2 billon). Among the debts was about N700m, which the NFF owed the NSC. We also owed hotels (accommodation for camping of players) between N300m to N500m. That was outside the $3.6m borrowed from the Presidency for the Eagles in Brazil. Some of these debts have been on ground even before the Aminu Maigari and Sani Lulu’s administrations. They have been there for years. You won’t believe that the NFF is yet to settle some money owed Celestine Babayaro till now. It is as bad as that.

“So, when the FIFA money came, I instructed the SG (Amadu) to immediately pay to CBN the $3.6m the NFF borrowed from the Presidency. The Presidency did the NFF a big favour by saving Nigerians what could have been a big embarrassment in Brazil. We have to do things in such a way so as remain in their good books because we may still run to them for favour. I even told Mr. President and the Sports Minister that we had paid back our debt. About six to seven weeks ago, I asked Amadu if he had paid the money to CBN as I directed, but his response was that he was processing it. I relaxed, thinking that he had carried out the assignment.


Aminu Maigari refused to sack Amadu despite protest by some Board members

“But on March 4, the CBN Governor sent a message to me that the money was not in their account. I was totally embarrassed, because it portrayed me as someone that is telling lies. I quickly called Amadu and his response was that some Board members were skeptical about returning the money to the Federal Government. Why? I asked. We quickly summoned a Board meeting and some of the members said that instead of returning the money, we should write a letter to the Presidency explaining that NFF wants to use the money to take care of some of our international competitions for the year. I am a listening leader, so I agreed with them and we wrote to the Presidency. But I instructed Amadu that the money must remain intact,” Pinnick stated.

Speaking further, the NFF boss said: “We are yet to get response from the Presidency on the letter we wrote concerning the money, but when I was invited by the House of Representatives Committee on Sports, the members said we should add the $3.6m to the money we are going to spend in the 2015 fiscal budget. It looks as if some maneuvering is going on, because some people are beginning to read political meanings to it and it is not good for our image. The Presidency rescued the NFF from such embarrassment in Brazil and we don’t have any reason holding on to the $3.6m.
Amadu is someone you will enjoy working with, but as President of the NFF, I felt he was not loyal to me. If he was really loyal, he should have listened to me and returned the money into the coffers of the CBN as I directed long ago.

Amadu is someone you will enjoy working with, but as President of the NFF, I felt he was not loyal to me. If he was really loyal, he should have listened to me and returned the money into the coffers of the CBN as I directed long ago.

“If he had done that, things wouldn’t have gotten to this level of me telling the Presidency, the CBN Governor and even the Sports Minister boldly that we had settled our debt, when actually it was not paid as I earlier directed. That was disloyalty. Amadu saw my body language, that I was not happy with the situation, so he resigned. Amadu will make success anywhere, because he has the brain. But like I said, he was not loyal to me. I wish him the best,” Pinnick said.

Meanwhile, the man who has stepped into Amadu’s position as NFF Secretary General, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, has said that his predecessor was not forced to resign as being insinuated in some quarters. “No, I can tell you that nobody forced Amadu to resign. He did that on his own,” Sanusi, who until now was the Director of Competitions in the NFF told The Guardian in a telephone chat yesterday.
Several efforts made by The Guardian to speak with Amadu yesterday proved abortive.

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