Right from when this week debuted, I have been engrossed in deep thought of many happenings concerning Nigeria football since the inception of Amaju Pinnick-led administration, three years ago.
Apart from the usual political intrigues that engulfed the very beginning of the present Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) leadership which pitched Ambassador Chris Giwa group and that of Pinnick after August and September elections in 2014, one key issue which enveloped my mind was how once a brand new and befitting edifice constructed and handed over to the officials of the country’s football governing body has been left in ruins.
While I was still illuminating over this, there came an official press release from the spokesman of NFF, Mr Ademola Olajire that revealed how fielding an ineligible Super Eagles player during the last 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier between Nigeria and Algeria would have cost us a hard-earned ticket to Russia if Africa’s most populous Nation hadn’t booked their place at the mundial before the unfortunate incident was pronounced by the world football governing body.
Discussion and of course reactions that trailed this costly mistake from glasshouse has continued to dominate public space. I will get back to it shortly.
Still talking about Nigeria’s football head office located inside package B of Abuja National stadium, the N337million magnificent building with 27-office apartments which was an initiative of late Umaru Musa Yar’dua Presidential task force, set up ahead of 2010 FIFA World Cup, was completed and commissioned under the then Nigeria President, Goodluck Jonathan in July 2013.
The noble idea anchored by members of the special task force was that since the World Cup, hosted in South Africa was over and there are still proceeds from donations by spirited individuals, government and corporate organisations remaining, there is need to give Nigeria’s football handlers a befitting structure meant for their day-to-day operations.
Everything (surprisingly) worked out as planned and on the 18th of July, 2013, the supposed new football house named after Sunday Dankaro (of the blessed memory), the first ever indigenous Chairman of the former Nigeria Football Association, between 1974 – 1980 was unveiled and the immediate past Aminu Maigari-led board was at hand to take over its use from Rotimi Amaechi-inspired task force that included the likes of former Director General of defunct National Sports Commission, Dr Patrick Ekeji, former Kano Pillars chairman, Alhaji Abba Yola among others.
With somewhat beginning of electioneering processes leading to emergence of a new leadership for Nigeria football fraternity which had begun then, many thought that the birth of a new NFF regime would signal (immediate) movement of its entire staff to this abandoned football house. But that never happened till the time I was putting down this write-up.
My recent visit to the designated permanent headquarters for NFF left me guessing if I’m truly looking at the building. One by one, some parts of this edifice are missing. From the front view, a good number of glasses used to beauty and as cover for the frontage have already gone out. Even the walls, PVC’s, windows and doors which have never been put to use are crumbling. Simply put, the tax payers’ monies which would have been plunged into other useful purposes are left to waste.
At the moment, NFF’s men are stocked to rented or borrowed office space located within Wuse Zone 7 inside the Nation’s capital. Imagine what could be going on in the psyche of late Sunday Dankaro if he was still alive to witness how fast a building erected in his honour has been dumped to rotten away.
Shortly after the present board of NFF assumed office in 2014, they attributed the reason for not parking into the new place immediately to lack of office furniture materials like chairs, tables among others. However, checks has revealed that there have been inclusion of over N40 million furnishing proposal into the subsequent annual budget presentations by those in charge of administering Nigeria football yet no forward-looking movement has been effected.
Instead, men at glasshouse quickly repaired the entire portion of the uncomfortable hired accommodation shortly after mystery fire burnt sensitive official documents in various administrative and finance offices.
Some monies too have developed wings and gone missing at many times within this same temporary apartment. Staff and key stakeholders daily move around the premises without an office to enter and settle down for their work. Limited office spaces are packed with employees.
At some point, former NFF Scribe, Musa Amadu boldly told the media that men at the glasshouse were actually waiting for ex-Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Godswill Akpabio to come to the rescue. What has happened to the cash which has been purportedly received from either the government, any individual or corporate organisation is another revelation in the making. Expect it!