“Mr. President, Distinguished Delegates, I received a report from the NFF intimating me of FIFA’s audit Report which raised queries on the management of $1.1 Million FIFA’s development grant to the NFF. According to the Report, FIFA has withheld all development funds to the Nigeria for lack of proper documentation of $802,000 out of the funds released to NFF. This is a very serious issue that must be given urgent attention to avoid another international embarrassment, more so that the present administration under the leadership of Mr. President, His Excellency, Mohammadu Buhari has zero tolerance for any act of mis-appropriation, mis-application, embezzlement or fraud in any guise. To this end, the NFF is directed to immediately provide my office with detail information of receipt, disbursement and application of the FIFA development grant accordingly. In addition, a reputable audit firm should be appointed urgently to check the account books of the Federation to ensure that funds are judiciously expended.The audit report must be made public so as to promote transparency, build credibility and enhance your market value”.
Above was a critical part of a speech delivered by Hon. Minister Solomon Dalung at the event of NFF Annual General Assembly today (18/12/16) in Lagos. The Minister raised germane issues one of which was the issue of accountability and the attendant consequences of ignoring it as captured in the above paragraph. Apparently irked by Minister Dalung’s demand for accountability for which he directed to immediately be provided with documents to ascertain the veracity of the query, the President of NFF, Mr Pinnick Amaju disrespectfully refused to shake the Minister’s hand at closing time. Moments later, a mail was intercepted by the media team of the Minister soliciting the support of Sportswriters to ‘tone down’ the Minister’s speech.
The mail read thus: “Good evening, Distinguished. Trust u are good. I respectfully appeal for your support to tone down the Minister’s stuff at the NFF AGA. I’m sending the communique shortly. Thanks for your understanding all the time. God bless.” Of course, the veracity of the mail would largely defend on what Nigerians read tomorrow in regard to the event and the speech. Sports analysts and Newspapers that refused to highlight the aspect of the Minister’s speech that dealt with the issue of the FIFA query would conclusively confirm the ‘tone down’ agenda of the Glass House. In the interim let’s discuss the back-up agenda designed to further ‘tone down’ the explosive and very revealing speech of the Minister.
Few hours after the Minister made his intention to get to the bottom of the FIFA query very clear, the social media went agog with a video of the Minister in a session with House Committee on Sports. According to the video, the Minister mispronounced ‘spent’ (past tense and past participle of the verb spend) in what was obviously a very normal slip of tongue since it was clear in the video he was quite at home with the verb ‘spent’ by his earlier statement.
Funny enough, rather than for the legion of cyber-stalkers to discuss the germane issue of accountability Minister Dalung raised in his speech, everybody seem to have transformed into emergency scholar discussing the slip of tongue of the Minister rather than his laudable courage to ask the questions which answers could potentially restore sanity to the sports community. Apparently some people chose to see quality ‘English language’ as a religious obligation rather than necessity of convenience. It’s quite amazing the level of slavish attachment to the sanctity of the Queen’s language among Nigerians and their unsolicited willingness to preserve it even at the expense of common sense and traditional respect to leadership. So what if somebody mispronounced a verb so long as his message is in pristine condition? Are we suppose to ignore a valuable message that could address serious issue we have been complaining about simply because of a mistake while communicating in an alien language which, by the way is a constant reminder of our traumatic slavish past.
One doesn’t need to be a ‘Shakespeare’ to help restore normalcy back to Nigeria. Certainly, it’s time to discard this bovine and irritating slavish attitude? But for the media gang-up against the Minister, I think the issue of the NFF President disrespecting the Minister by refusing to shake his hand was more deserving of media attention than the Minister’s slip of tongue. One could have sworn the media would be more concern with getting the details of the FIFA query than wasting time discussing verbs and tenses in a childish manner that was unintelligently designed to distract Nigerians away from the serious issue of credibility while challenging the determination of this administration to cure Nigeria of corruption and other administrative irregularities.
Conclusively this would prove correct common views among sports pundits that Hon. Minister Dalung is up against an unforgiving cabal who would stop at nothing to maintain the unproductive old ways of doing things which he not only promised to challenge right from day one but made his topmost priority.
Common sense should have encouraged a healthy debate on the issues he raised in his speech even if there’s a unanimous decision to be lenient and ‘tone down’ the rude behavior of the NFF President. Grammar is the least problem of Nigeria’s sports family.
By Maiwada Dam