Amos Adamu In The Cold

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Until 17 October 2010, when the Sunday Times of London exposed Dr. Amos Adamu, that he allegedly agreed to receive £500,000 to influence the voting procedure for the 2018 FIFA World Cup bid, he could be described as a ‘tin god’ in Nigerian sports.

Expectedly, Adamu fought fervently to clean his name from the rot that has eaten deep into the world football governing body, FIFA, but the Executive member of CAF and FIFA, lost his appeal against the three years ban placed on him by the international body.

However, since the said incident occurred, the former Director General of the National Sports Commission, NSC has withdrawn into his shell.

He was the DG of NSC for 10 years before the government redeployed him to Ministry of Special Duties in November 2008. Before his appointment as DG, he was the Director of Sports in the Sports Ministry for 10 years and always pulled the strings in football matters in Nigeria, Africa and rest of the world.

But, after the ‘bribe for vote’ scandal hit him like a thunderbolt, he has since disappeared from the limelight.

This is someone, who has many friends and associates, but it appears that many do not want to associate with the former sports administrator any longer.

Early this year, Adamu was reported to have survived a cerebrovascular accident (stroke), after undergoing an intensive treatment in London. He returned to the country in February, 2012 amidst thanks to God for sparing his life just at the time he lost his appeal before the Court of Arbitration for sports in Lausanne.

Adamu, who returned from a specialist hospital in London after a referral from the Lagos Specialist Hospital in Apapa, had his appeal rejected by Court for Arbitration for Sports (CAS), after FIFA slammed a three-year ban on him till October 2013.

Although, his ban from football matters for three years did not go down well with him, he refused to talk publicly about his travails in FIFA.

But, in a brief chat with the press on arrival from London three months ago, Adamu said: “I just want to thank God and all those who contributed to my total recovery. It is not easy to survive stroke, but I thank God that I am alive today.”

The Doctorate Degree holder in Physical and Health Education, was a university lecturer before joining the National Institute for Sports, NIS. When he came on board, Adamu wielded enormous power in his terrain, deciding on various issues that affected sports in Nigeria.

Just like the proverbial Oliver Twist, who often ask for more, Dr Adamu walked his way to the Nigeria Football Association, NFA in 1992, when he was appointed the Sole Administrator of the body. After recording success in this position, he was then posted to the Federal Ministry of Sports as Director of Sports Development.

He was actively involved in the administration and organisation of the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship, WYC in Nigeria and the Nations Cup in 2000 co-hosted by Nigeria and Ghana.

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In December 2000, Adamu was named President of the Organising Committee for the 8th All-Africa Games, COJA. The games were held in Abuja in October 2003, inside the newly constructed Abuja national Stadium. Shortly after the games, tongues went wagging that public funds were allegedly spent lavishly.

Immediately after the games, Adamu advised the government to sell the Games Village, and commercialise the Stadium to forestall vandalisation of its facilities, which is typical of publicly owned buildings in Nigeria. There was also controversy about the conduct of the organisers of the Games.

In 2005, Adamu was picked as a member of the organising committee for the first ever World Cup Finals in Africa, held in South Africa 2010.

Part of what Nigerians will remember about Adamu took place in 2006, when he led the transformation of the Sports Ministry to the NSC. Apart from his CAF and FIFA positions, Adamu became the President of the West Africa Football Union, WAFU in 2007.

In July 2008, Adamu announced that the NSC had initiated an inquiry into allegations of corruption in the local league.

Since his disappearance from sporting cicle, there has been a groundswell of opinion that his populariry has waned.

It is believed that during Adamu’s period as a member of the Executive Committee of CAF and FIFA, he was able to cajole his other members into giving Nigeria the hosting rights of the FIFA U-20 and U-17 World Cups twice within a decade.

Also during his reign, Nigeria played host to series of international football events, but since his exit, FIFA has not deemed it fit to award Nigeria the hosting rights of any of its tournaments.

One of his assets, Balmoral Hall, situated in Ikeja was gutted by fire recently, but the edifice was quickly put in place by the former sports guru.

It was gathered that the event centre was refurbished to taste with the assistance of Adamu’s family,

As it were, none of his former associates are willing to react to Adamu’s predicament, especially now that he is observing his ban period.

—Adebobola Alawode