Minister of Sports and Chairman of the National Sports Commission, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi
By Duro Ikhazuagbe
The Minister of Sports and Chairman of the National Sports Commission, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, Tuesday defended the current board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), as one that is completely different from the previous, labelled as corrupt at the Presidential Retreat on Sport in Abuja on Monday afternoon.
While reacting to the accusation of corruption levelled against the previous board of the federation by Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, the sports minister insisted that in his dealings with the current Aminu Maigari led executive, “I don’t have any reason to say such about this present board through my interaction with them.”
Mallam Abdullahi told THISDAY Tuesday that it is true that the NFF has financial challenges but “certainly do not have the kind of money to play with to warrant being labelled corrupt. Rather, I think the present board should be commended for being able to manage the little resources at its disposal. I know because most times they run to me at the NSC to bail them out to avoid embarrassment of not able to meet expenses for local and international engagements.”
The minister however said that Governor Amaechi was in a position to pass such judgement on the past board based on his position as chairman of the Presidential Task Force of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
“He has every reason to pass such judgement on the former board that was in place during the World Cup in South Africa. Gov. Amaechi as chairman of the World Cup task force raised lot of money for the federation and knew how such funds were mismanaged. But for this present board, I don’t think it will be right thing to say,” Abdullahi told THISDAY on telephone Tuesday evening.
Also yesterday, the NFF flatly rejected the statement credited to Gov. Amaechi that the federation was graft-ridden.
Chairman of the NFF Media and Publicity Committee, Chief Emeka Inyama said Governor Amaechi’s statement at the Presidential Retreat was in bad taste.