The report claimed that the “PERFORMANCE OF NIGERIA IN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS HAS NOSE DIVED IN AN UNPRECEDENTED MANNER, FOLLOWING THE FAILURE OF THE MINISTER TO RELEASE FUNDS NOT ONLY TO THE 38 FEDERATIONS, BUT ALSO FOR INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIONS.”
New Telegraph said ahead of the Rio Olympic, Team Nigeria athletes were compelled to source for funds to travel for qualification tournaments for the Games BUT THEY NEVER INFORMED US THAT THOSE FEDERATIONS GOT THEIR MONEY AS SOON AS THE 2BILLION SPECIAL PRESIDENTIAL INTERVENTION FUNDS FOR THE RIO 2016 OLYMPICS WAS RELEASED ABOUT 5 DAYS TO THE GAMES.
“The U-23 soccer team for dearth of funds was stranded in Atlanta and only got to the venue of the Olympics, three hours to their match against Japan after John Obi Mikel personally took over the sponsorship of the team.”
THEY NEVER TOLD US THAT THE NIGERIA FOOTBALL FEDERATION GOT SPONSORS FOR THE ATLANTA TRIP AS BACKED UP BY EVIDENCES WHICH I POSTED ON THIS SAME PLATFORM.
THEY NEVER TOLD NIGERIANS THAT BARRISTER SOLOMON DALUNG KNOWING THE PECULIAR SITUATION THE COUNTRY WAS IN AT THAT TIME IN RELATION TO FUNDING ADVISED THE FEDERATION NOT TO TAKE THE DREAM TEAM ON SUCH TOUR.
THEY NEVER TOLD NIGERIANS THAT FG PAID MIKEL HIS MONIES IN FULL WHEN THE GOVERNMENT DELEGATION LANDED IN RIO.
Despite his many years of meritorious service in the Federal Civil Service, the former Chairman of Kano Pillars F.C. of Kano who was sacked in 2014 over “The events that led to their participation in the CAF Championships and management of finances under his watch” has quickly forgotten that TEAM NIGERIA’S WELFARE, TRAINING AND CAMPING SHOULD HAVE BEEN UNDER THE PURVIEW OF NIGERIA OLYMPIC COMMITTEE WEEKS TO THE EVENT UNDER A NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCE.
New Telegraph:- “At the Rio Games, Nigerian athletes threatened on a daily basis to boycott events in protest of failure to pay their allowances. Still at the Rio Games, Nigerian athletes took part in the march past with track suits and not Nigeria’s national attire”.
DID THE WRITER BOTHER TO INTERVIEW ANGIE TAYLOR WHO WAS SADDLED WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY OF SHIPPING TEAM NIGERIA’s ATTIRES ON WHAT CAUSED THE DELAY?
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE IF THE WRITER HAD PRESENTED FACTS TO BUTTRESS HIS REPORT THAT TEAM NIGERIA ATHLETES ACTUALLY COMPLAINED OVER NON-PAYMENT OF ALLOWANCES APART FROM THE CACOPHONY OF UNVERIFIED REPORTS BEING REPORTED BACK HOME.
THEY DID NOT TELL NIGERIANS THAT IN THE RECENT HISTORY OF TEAM NIGERIA’S PARTICIPATION IN A COMPETITION OF THIS MAGNITUDE, THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THAT ATHLETES AND OFFICIALS WERE FULLY PAID THEIR ALLOWANCES DIRECTLY EVEN BEFORE THE END OF THE COMPETITION. EACH ATHLETE WAS PAID $150 DAILY FOR 22DAYS.
The Writer insinuated that it took the intervention of Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo. to bail out the Nigeria Super Eagles against Zambia despite WELL DOCUMENTED REPORTS THAT THE PRESIDENCY BROKE PROTOCOL TO OPEN THEIR OFFICE ON SUNDAY JUST TO PUSH THE SUPER EAGLES FILE AS SUBMITTED BY THE MINISTER OF YOUTH AND SPORTS.
Two national women’s teams, the Super Falconets and the Super Falcons held the country to ransom for failure to pay owed match bonuses at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the CAF African Women’s Nations Cup.
ABBA YOLA HAS FORGOTTEN THAT THE WELFARE OF THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAMS IS CATERED FOR BY THE NFF AND YOU CANNOT TALK ABOUT FINANCIAL INTERVENTION BY THE FG WITHOUT GIVING KUDOS TO DALUNG BECAUSE………..
IN SPORTS, DALUNG IS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.
New Telegraph claimed that evidence of Dalung’s visits to the House of Assembly to collect funds was presented at a special hearing attended by Federations Presidents.
THE QUESTION IS THIS: WHEN WAS THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY CONVERTED TO THE OFFICE OF THE ACCOUNTANT GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION AND BUDGET OFFICE WHERE MONIES ARE APPROVED, RELEASED AND DISBURSED?
According to the report, 2016 budget witnessed an astronomic increase of the sports budget, which used to be a little over N8billion to capture Nigeria’s participation in Rio 2016.
This is not far from the truth. But the question is “Were the monies actually released?
If YES as against the claims of the Minister of Youth and Sports and his Permanent Secretary, Chinyeaka Ohaa, then we need proofs.
Abba Yola, who retired from the civil service after 35 years of service and was described as a former big wig of the Sports Ministry was quoted as saying, “The budget of each of the ministries, Sports ministry inclusive, contains capital project, overhead and general administration…………. I have always cried out aloud about misapplication of funds with so many things left undone in the Sports Ministry despite the huge budget released by the Federal Government in 2016.
The report delved into unrelated issues about the “RESTED” political scuffle between Amb. Chris Giwa and Amaju Pinnick which made it look malicious and a case of “the hands of Esau and the voice of Jacob”.
The report could be knocked out because of the absence of any hard evidence with every claim attributed to Abba Yola, fictitious characters, hearsays and assumptions.
In other climes, Dalung would have quickly filed for a libelous claim and defamation of character suit against Abba Yola, the writer and the NEW TELEGRAPH for bringing his name and office to ridicule and disrepute over spurious claims bordering on ‘misapplication and misappropriation of funds’ without concrete evidence.
Will it be defensible and make any common sense to go about saying the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari pumped about 18billion in Sports in 2016 when the country was in “Technical Recession”.
How FG released N18 billion for sports which was ‘misapplied’ without the Presidency raising an eye-brow in this present situation when funds are hard to come by still beats my imagination.
How many perceived “IMPORTANT” Ministries and Parastatals got N18billion in 2016 which is primarily for capital projects that can be seen?
In reporting corruption of this magnitude, presentation of hard evidences and balancing the story from the ‘accused’ would have doused all claims that the write-up was sponsored by those who are desperate for the removal of Dalung and to divert Nigerians’ attention from the “misapplied” FIFA GRANTS by The Nigeria Football Federation.
The NEW TELEGRAPH is one of the few dailies that swept four awards at the Nigeria Media Merits Awards recently.
The management of this new generation newspaper must not allow yellow journalism to carpet its hard earned reputation.”
By Oni Guarantor Afolabi.