NEWS ITEM (Nigeria Today Online, Thursday, 3 July 2008) : Amos Adamu has set up an inquiry into corruption in Nigerian football.
“The Nigeria Sports Commission (NSC) has set up an six-man inquiry team to investigate allegations of corruption in the local league. The NSC is the Nigerian equivalent of the sports ministry. The inquiry is a response to comments from former Kano Pillars coach Kadiri Ikhana. In May just a few days after leading Kano Pillars to the Nigerian title Ikhana announced he was quitting the game in the country because of what he alleges is a “corrupt system.” Former Nigeria Football Association chairman Dominic Oneya heads up the team, which has been given 18 working days to investigate the allegations and make any recommendations”.
“The director general of the NSC, Amos Adamu said: “The NSC thought it very wise that we should investigate these allegations of corruption. It is an opportunity we are giving to Nigerians, coaches, club owners, football administrators to come out and specifically mention how much corruption is in our football. We have a coach who has come out boldly to say he is tired of football because of corruption. Let them give us the details. We can assure you that any one that we can prove a case of corruption against will not have anything to do with football again, no matter highly placed that person is,” said Adamu, who is also an executive member of both FIFA and CAF. Adamu warned that while anyone found culpable would be punished, those making baseless claims would also face the music. “FIFA, world football’s governing body, does not condone corruption, but on the other hand it does not condone blackmail either,” he added”.
I woke this morning and as I always do before I go to work, I trawled through the Internet to read my daily dose of Nigerian newspapers and other information items about Nigeria, (I don’t know why I always subject myself to daily pain reading about events in Nigeria, but I guess I am a bit of a sadist) and in my inbox was Nigeria Today Online, which had the above story.
I was aghast. That is the only way I can put my reaction. It is not that I don’t want any investigation into Nigerian football or sports, in fact such an investigation has been long overdue, it is the person who is going to conduct the investigations that happens to be my problem. I am sure Coach Kadiri Ikhana knows what he is talking about. I will not be surprised if his life is under threat right now.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the man who is proposing to conduct the investigation into Nigeria football is himself the personification of corruption in Nigeria. Forget about the politicians and others. Amos Adamu is the epitome of corruption, decadence and retrogression in Nigerian sports. And he is going to conduct an investigation to root out corrupt officials in his ministry. This cannot be right. The man is taking the Mickey, isn’t he? He cannot be serious.
If he wants an investigation conducted, he should bring in the EFCC or the ICPC for an impartial and thorough investigation. A thief cannot be put in charge of his own investigation. Then he wants the investigations concluded within eighteen working days – after decades of rot and corruption which he himself oversaw, and which he himself was very much actively involved and participated in. Who does he think he is fooling? Ask anybody in Nigerian sports today, and they will confirm to you that the problem with Nigeria sports since the late Isaac Akioye retired as the DG of the National Sports Commission, rests squarely on Amos Adamu. Even since he took the reins over two decades ago, it has been a downward spiral for sports in general and football in particular for Nigeria.
In earlier articles, I had highlighted this (Please read “Nigeria: Power Belongs To The Looters” “The Super Eagles, The NFA and The African Nations Cup”)
Here is an excerpt from one of the articles – “Dr Amos Adamu, and the current Director of Sports in the Federal Ministry of Sports is not a mere mortal, believe me. He is the Alpha and Omega of Nigerian Sports. He came in as Director of Sports Development over 20 years ago on the back of having a doctorate degree in Physical Education. And he has waxed ever stronger since then. He is a FIFA member, a member of CAF and now, after a brief hiccup, he is the President of the West African Football Union (WAFU), that body whose first President was the indomitable, incorruptible and excellent late Mr J K Tandoh. Dr Adamu is a far cry from the success, reputation, uprightness and commitment of such people as late J K Tandoh and late Isaac Akioye. Adamu’s over twenty years at the helm of Nigerian sports has been a disaster. He has overseen the ruinous decline of sports in the country in the past two decades, yet some people up there still think he is the best and only man to run Nigerian sports. In fact he retired after COJA (the All African Games held in Abuja between 5th and 17th October 2003), and they practically had to go and beg him to come back again, because apparently to them only, he is the only man who can save Nigerian sports, and this after years of terrible decline supervised by the same man. I am not surprised, because he has managed to compromise a lot of them. All the Sports Ministers he has served under – or rather, all the Sports Ministers that have served under him – were no more than puppets”.
And to cap it all, he made his money from Nigerian sport, and yet he is a civil servant. Go and have a look at his vast property in the choicest part of Lagos Island and tell me how a civil servant can afford such mighty mansion. Here, a plot of land costs over 100 million Naira, so you can imagine how much the building itself will cost. But he is untouchable in Nigeria, and that is why he can come forward and say stupid things like above and think he is smart enough to pull the wool over our collective eyes and insult our collective intelligence.
When he organised All African Games, COJA in 2003, the aftermath was littered with corruption and mismanagement. It was this massive evidence of corruption that made Obasanjo, never a great sports fan himself, decide to back out of Nigeria’s bid to host the first ever Soccer World Cup in Africa, and resulted in South Africa getting that honour. Obasanjo also quickly foresaw that the evidence of corruption will also implicate some members of his family. The EFCC, then under Nuhu Ribadu, wanted to pick him up, but there was so much pressure from high up, that he had to back down. The reason is that if Dr Adamu was ever picked up, he would start singing and the songs will not be melodious to the ears of some very top politicians and officials who had been compromised in the award of bogus or highly inflated contracts for the Games. They therefore had to use a lot of muscle on Ribadu to drop the investigations.
He has a very good team of loyal acolytes who report to him. For the past ten or fifteen years, these loyalists are always appointed into one important sports committee or the other. An example is the Nigeria Football Association, with Sani Lulu and Ojo-Oba as Chairman and Secretary respectively. The Board is also packed full of his loyalists. (Please note that the Nigeria Football Association still does not have an official website) These two goons have been Adamu’s men for years. They do his bidding and ensure that no other outsider ever gets in. More importantly, they report back to him. Their continued stay will always ensure that Nigerian football never progresses. He also has his goons in other sports areas. The first objective of the loyalists is to serve their master, and not Nigerian sports. Of course, these loyalists also serve their own pockets. They do not contribute, and never will contribute, anything towards resuscitating Nigerian comatose and moribund sports. They lack the knowledge and the ability, the focus and the ideas, the commitment and sincerity of purpose, to meaningfully contribute anything towards developing our sports. They are simply “yes-men”, sycophants, and corrupt charlatans parading themselves as sports officials. They are men of straw, doomed to serve a lesser god and doomed to failure, to be consigned to the dustbin of history. They are looters in power, like their godfather.
So you tell me, what is this kind of investigation going to achieve, especially coming from the Thief-in Chief himself? It is going to be a cover up and a farce right from the beginning to the end. Holy Lord, the cheek of it.
If Adamu is serious about conducting an investigation, let him pass it on to the EFCC. But then he would have cooked all the books. He is very smart.
I call on Dr Adamu, not to waste our time and money. I challenge Dr Adamu to pass the investigation into allegations of corruption in Nigerian sports to the EFCC or ICPC. He himself should be investigated, and he should resign or retire. He is of no positive use to Nigerian sports, and his continued stay at the helms of affairs is actually causing more ruin to our sports that it will be an Herculean task to reverse that trend. Not with him around.
This is another example of the arrogance of our leaders, and perhaps even ignorance. I am so annoyed that this man dared to come out and say things like this. He should have been in prison a long time ago if we were to be living in a more decent country. But you see, he can say anything he likes, won’t he?, because he has got backing from other corrupt people in high places.
Their time will come – these looters in power, however, para-phrasing Noam Chomsky’s thesis, the only opposition now to these perpetration of crimes and sins on Nigerians should be a continuous PUBLIC OPINION/OUTCRY at every whiff of scandalous corruption.
Lord have mercy on us.
I say, let the truth be said always, only then can we progress as a nation and as a people.
About Akintokunbo A Adejumo
Akintokunbo Adejumo, a social and political commentator on Nigerian issues, lives and works in London, UK. He is a graduate of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria (1979) and University of Manitoba, Canada (1985). He also writes on topical issues for Nigerians In America and other newspapers and internet media including Nigeriaworld, Nigeria Today Online, Washington Nigerian Times, Wise News Today, etc. He coordinates Champions for Nigeria.