Former Sports Minister Solomon Dalung has attempted to quell speculation about the state of his relationship with Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President Amaju Pinnick.
Dalung was a thorn in the flesh of the NFF boss all through his four-year tenure in office but claimed he had nothing against Pinnick and the NFF while fielding questions in an interview published by The Nation.
“Well, I have no grouse with Pinnick and NFF. It is just sentiment and perception that made people to reason that way. I have nothing personal against Amaju Pinnick and I don’t also have anything personal against NFF,” he said.
He, however, stated his issues with the NFF bordered on the Federation’s inability to stay within the ambits of “defined rules”.
“The problem I [had] with the NFF is their unwillingness to operate within defined rules and that is one of the major challenges I have with them.
“Honestly, it didn’t start from the present executive but it is more or less a tradition they have been used to over the years.
“I was told by a staff of Sports Ministry that when there was Sports Commission that the Director General (DG) was stronger than the minister and sports federations because of their affiliation with international bodies, and their weapon ban, which they used to cow nations into submission knowing too well that sports is a national passion.
“So the moment there is a threat of ban, the country will start running from pillar to post even sacrificing their own sovereignty,” he added.
Despite siding with the Chris Giwa faction during an NFF leadership tussle in 2014 and asking the EFCC to probe the football body, the Barrister and former Nigerian Prisons Service Inspector Assistant revealed he isn’t at loggerheads with Pinnick as reports paint.
“Like NFF, I don’t have anything personal and I am very close to Amaju Pinnick and his wife and the wife calls me till date,” the 55-year-old said.