Nigeria’s World Cup Qualification: Dalung Goofed Again, By Abba Yola
It is a fact we all know and are happy that Nigeria will be in Russia for the 2018 Senior Men’s World Cup Finals. But then, must the Hon Minister speak on what he has no knowledge of just because he wants score a victory point?
Here him further on our qualification: “This is because it will be the first time that a World Cup qualifier is being prosecuted with out a Presidential Task Force with a bogus budget.This has also saved the government billions of naira with the same result achieved with less funds.”
To some extent talking out of ignorance can be excused but where one speaks out of context and with some elements of mischief it is only right to disabuse his ignorance and give a proper account of things to clear the minds of those that have come across such statements.
I was not the spokesperson of the 2010 PTF and anyway, they never had one but I was part of it from day one as Head of its versatile Secretariat and custodian of all its correspondences. And under the rules of Engagement, I see myself as a part of that Nigerian Project. Hence, my resolve to at any time People of No knowledge speak on the PTF and with mischief bring out in clear terms what PTF did and did not do. Never have I spoken on PTF from point of Colouration or Sentiments and Never will I.
One of the mandates of the PTF was to: Out Source for Funds to prosecute its well marshaled program for our successful participation in the 2010 WQ to be staged in Africa for the first time.
This was drummed into the ears of the PTF by the late President U M Yar’Adua, (May he be in the company of our beloved Prophet, S.A.W.S.Ameen) while inaugurating them at the State house.
No one could have with a smile accepted this challenge at that time but for the Chairman it was a No challenge.He went on to make a Promise of Zero Request for Funds. So from day one even for logistics there was zero budget/request to Government for Funds.
At its inaugural meeting the Chairman made it very clear that theirs was not a Tea Party or a meeting of friends to eat lunch.
From there on strategies were drawn on how to go about getting funds to ‘expend’ or sorry to drive the PTF ‘s program.It was then they agreed on a funds raising dinner.
In his usual manner and to demonstrate his commitment, the chairman called several of his friends and before you know it hundreds of thousands of US dollars were promised in support of the PTF.
Secondly the immediate challenge at that time was our away match with Algeria.
-players morale was low
-technical crew was not the best
-how will the team travel as there was no budget for the trip and so on.
As usual the PTF Chairman made some calls and within a twinkle of an eye
-an aircraft was got
-one of his friends had sent $100 thousand in support of the trip
-administrative approval was got to raise the players winning bonuses to $10 thousand.
– a firm resolve was taken to get a Foreign Coach in line with aspirations and wishes of Nigerians if we qualify for the finals.
On and on that was how the PTF worked until the big day when a Fund Raising Dinner was held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa to Raise Funds for our participation at the WQ proper having successfully secured a Ticket .
The sum of N1.470 billionnwas raised with government Donating N1b which came to PTF Accounts in tranches.
So, where does Mr Minister got his information since he has not landed in Abuja then and was never known to be a sports enthusiast that PTF was funded through a “bogus budget”?
Had Mr Minister looked at the caliber of Nigerians that constituted the PTF and their proven integrity and disposition I am sure he would not have made such a statement.
Let’s I forget, at the time when the PTF finished its assignment they had a balance of over N400 million which they could have ‘expended’ oops shared among themselves but Nay they decided to use that balance to give our Football Federation a befitting Secretariat situated at package b of the Abuja National Stadium.
The structure is still there but undergoing restructuring. Not all people could make such a big sacrifice at a time when they were holding sway.They could have used that balance to buy themselves each a house in Abuja especially in one of the districts like Gwarinpa. But Nay their resolve was to leave a Legacy for Nigerian Football and they DID.
You can CONFIRM the Veracity or Otherwise of my Submission here from your Colleague who was the Chairman of the PTF, Rt Hon Rotimi Chibuike Ameachi, Hon Minister for Transport and also these Distinguished and Great Nigerians who were Members of the Task Force:
1. HE Ambassador Buba Ahmed,MON
2.Engr Sani Ndanusa and or Alh Bolaji Abdullahi
3.Chief Segun Odegbami,MON
4.Dr Larry Izamoje
5.Col A Aminu (Rtd)
6.Amb John Fashanu
7.Mr John Mastoroudes
9.Sani L. Abdullahi and or Alh Aminu Maigari
10.Austin Jay Jay Okocha
11.Dr Patrick Ekeji—–Member/Secretary .
So, Mr Minister there was NO Budget/Request let alone a BOGUS one from the Presidential Task Force on the 2010 FIFA World Cup either at the QUALIFICATION stages or the Finals to the Government of that time.
I Stand to be corrected.