Nigeria Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick has accused former sports minister Solomon Dalung of conspiring to get him removed as 1st vice-president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in 2019.
Pinnick made the revelation on Arise TV on Monday while responding to comments attributed to Dalung about the misappropriation of funds in Nigerian sports.
Wondering why the former sports minister was always quick to make disparaging comments about his successor Sunday Dare, the NFF president is also a member of FIFA’s Executive Council accused Dalung of ‘demarketing’ a country and system that offered him an ‘extraordinary’ opportunity to serve as a minister.
“Yeah, I think that’s pathetic,” Pinnick said replying to comments attributed to Dalung about Nigeria’s current sports leadership “despising accountability”. “At this level, you do not demarket or disparage a government or a system that gave you extraordinary opportunity to be a minister. You enable that government from behind.”
“What was [Dalung’s] motive?” Pinnick wondered. “There are many things that are better left unsaid about the former minister but you don’t come to public space and start criticising your successor, daily saying things that are not meant to be said.
“It’s unethical, it’s morally wrong and I can tell you, let him pause, meditate and take a back seat and ask a question, if sports was that lucrative, he was there for three and a half years, what did he turn in?”
Pinnick then went on to accuse Dalung of masterminding his removal as CAF 1st vice-president in 2019 but declined to elaborate, saying the full details will be revealed in his future memoirs.
“There are so many things [I don’t want to reveal],” Pinnick continued. “Do you know why I was removed as 1st vice-president of CAF?
“There are so many things I cannot say, but after my stewardship in football, there is a book that I’m going to write because it’s the truth. I don’t begrudge anybody – I’m a Christian – if you read 1st Thessalonians 5:18, it says ‘in everything give thanks’, that’s the wish of God Almighty.
“Because, perhaps if [Dalung] did not connive with people to remove me as 1st vice-president of CAF, I wouldn’t have been in FIFA today.”
Pinnick was removed as CAF 1st vice-president during the 2019 African Cup of Nations in Egypt after falling out with former CAF boss Ahmad Ahmad who declined to renew the Nigerian’s term.
Ahmad was subsequently banned from football for breaching FIFA’s code of ethics and was succeeded as CAF president by South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe.