Bringing Crooks To Face Justice

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It seems the era where sports administrators dipped their hands into public till and took  the much they could is over as some sacked officials of the Nigeria Football Federation,  NFF, were arraigned last week for alleged fraud. In spite of reports about alleged fraud  perpetrated in the past by sports administrators, it would be the first time fat cats would  be dragged to court.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, hauled the former chairman of NFF, Sani  Lulu, his erstwhile deputy, Amanze Uchegbulam, former secretary-general, Dr. Bolaji Ojo-Oba  and technical director, Taiwo Ogunjobi, before an Abuja High Court for alleged  misappropriation of about N1.2 billion.

The money was meant for the Super Eagles’ preparation for the FIFA World Cup that took place  in South Africa in June/July this year. They were also accused of issuing 1,263  complimentary tickets to friends, associates, political support groups and family relations  and allegedly paid $800,000 to 220 Nigerian delegates whereas only 49 people were authorised  NFF officials while the rest were friends, associates, etc.

Their trial will send the right signal to those who will take over as elected administrators  of football that they can’t get away with mismanagement of funds meant for either the  development of football generally or for specific purpose like the case of the recent World  Cup where enough funds were provided but the administrators chose to deploy same in a manner  that did not yield positive result.

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Since football unites this country like no other thing, the administrators must always be  conscious of the way they handle affairs concerning the game. Nigerians are so passionate  about football that they become broken hearted each time our national teams perform below  expectations. Nigerians do not care about the part of country a player comes from. All they  are interested in is the result.

Most times, the male national team, the Super Eagles, perform poorly because of  maladministration. Most of the administrators in the NFF have no business being there. It is  the desire to line their pockets that has kept them there. They do not care about the  dwindling fortunes of the game as long as there is money there for them to share.

The voided NFF elections which were conducted last month ought to have brought about the  much needed change but they were conducted against a subsisting court order. Some people  were so desperate to take over the Glass House that they pulled all the strings to ensure  that the elections were conducted without following laid down procedures.

The time has come for us to elect the right people to run the nation’s football. Our  football administrators should stop groping in the dark. They should learn how football is  successfully run in other countries and apply the same principles here to uplift the game.  Our administrators should stop toying with the passion of millions of Nigerians.