Minister of Sports Sunday Dare has been the recipient of a sarcastic swipe by his predecessor Solomon Dalung over some of the resolutions arising from Dare’s meeting with Nigeria Football Federation board members on Friday.
Dare met with all fifteen members of the NFF board in Abuja for the first time since being appointed Minister of Sports a month ago and said the meeting was called in order to chart “a new direction” and resolve “some of the pending lingering issues” at the NFF.
Repositioning the domestic league, rehabilitating sports infrastructure and ensuring early preparations for participation in tournaments and championships were some of the key resolutions contained in the communique released after the meeting.
In an acknowledgement of the damage done to the standing of the NFF under the present board by the numerous corruption allegations and investigations by several antigraft agencies into the affairs of the NFF as well as the distractions occasioned by the manifold internal and external wranglings between stakeholders, the communique stated the resolve of both parties to “improve the positive perception of football administration in the country” as well as to “reach out to all factions with a view to having an amicable resolution of all problems”.
The Sports Minister also took to his page on microblogging platform, Twitter, to inform his followers of his meeting with the board of the NFF.
“Today I met with the 15 Executive board members of the NFF towards charting a new direction and resolving some of the pending lingering issues. It was a frank exchange in which I asked that everyone works with patriotic zeal to change the narrative about football administration,” Dare wrote on Twitter.
Dalung, whose tenure as Sports Minister was marked and marred in the eyes of a few, by near-constant warfare with the NFF was, however, quick to post a riposte dripping with sarcasm in reply to Sunday Dare’s tweet.
“Congratulations for this wonderful effort. Now that you have waded into the lingering issues, ICPC and EFCC should now hands off for peace to reign,” Dalung posted in a direct reply to his successor’s tweet.
Dalung had always been fingered as the brain behind most of the NFF troubles with the antigraft agencies and also pilloried during his time as Sports Minister for seemingly always wanting to interfere in the internal matters of the Federation – something he’s always denied.
His intent in his reply to Dare was in line with what he’s always maintained as Sports Minister; that he had no power to interfere with the constitutionally ordained processes of antigraft agencies who carry out their duties regardless of the personal disposition of the Minister.
And events, since he’s been out of office, have proven him correct in a sense with two fresh investigations by the EFCC and the ICPC launched against the NFF president Amaju Pinnick and the 2nd vice-president of the federation Shehu Dikko recently.
It remains to be seen if the rapprochement between the NFF and the Sports Ministry leads to the shelving of legal cases and investigations into corruption allegations faced by several members of the Federation’s board.