By Amaechi Agbo
Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick failed FIFA’s financial integrity test of transparency in management of financial grants given to Nigeria by the world football governing body.
Proprietor of Bimo FC, Chinedu Okoye who made this disclosure in an exclusive interview, said that Pinnick’s failure to account for the monies released to the NFF has led to the blacklisting of Nigeria from FIFA grants.
Citing FIFA financial report, Mr Okoye said that since 2015, Nigeria football federation has not received a cent from FIFA because, according to him, Amaju Pinnick and his board could not account for the sum of $9.6 million grant given to the federation by FIFA.
“I tell you something, since 2015, FIFA has not given Nigeria a cent. FIFA has not given Nigeria one naira because Amaju Pinnick could not give an account of $9.6 million he collected from FIFA and he failed the integrity test of FIFA. Nobody reported that in the Nigeria news. I lived in Switzerland during the period and the case is now in the court.
If you change the money to naira we are talking about N3.4 billion and do you know what that amount could do in Nigeria football?
“Pinnick should come out and tell Nigerians how much the sponsorship deals he signed with Zenith Bank, Coca Cola, Nike, Guinness, Emzor, Supersport, etc are; how much is this sponsorship deals worth? These are sponsorship deals that worth millions if not billions of naira. Nobody knows how much these sponsorship deals are because they are undisclosed according to Pinnick.
“And I am saying it again, FIFA has not given Nigeria kobo since 2015 because FIFA gave Nigeria $9.6 million. this money was collected by Pinnick to be used for the development of football. FIFA don’t just give you money and tell you to go and use it; FIFA will give you money and come and investigate what you have done with the money.
“In Nigeria’s, NFF could not show FIFA what they did with the money. Pinnick could not show evidence of what he did with the money. He failed the integrity test of FIFA and that is the reason the grant has been suspended for four years.
“I want to tell you something that in the FIFA of today, there is transparency. If you go to financial report of FIFA, you will see that every member-country that is part of FIFA collects money for the development of football but in the case of Nigeria, it is all zero since 2015. For the past four years, Nigeria has gotten nothing from FIFA.
“So if you are asking me how Pinnick runs Nigeria football, he is running it like his father’s property. When he collects money from Zenith Bank and Nigerians don’t know how much, he collects money from Nike, nobody knows how much; what is happening? Funny enough, these are corporate bodies.
“Do not forget that international games such as friendly matches and tournaments played by Super Eagles that their match bonuses are paid by FIFA and not NFF. Therefore, the NFF should come out and be transparent enough to tell Nigerians how they are running Nigeria football. You know that 9.6 million dollars is missing and if the government is not investigating it, it would have gone underground. Pinnick will tell you that it was the casher that took the money and the casher will tell he does not know about the money,” Mr Okoye said
Okoye, who spent over ten years as Swiss referee attributed lack of transparency in financial management in the NFF to greed and stealing, adding that despite Pinnick’s closeness to FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, FIFA of today is transparent and will flush out any individual found culpable in corruption cases.
Citing former Ghana Football Association President, Kwesi Nyantayi, who was suspended by the GFA and later banned for life by FIFA from football, Mr Okoye said that once a corruption case is established against Pinnick, his romance with FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, will not save him because FIFA abhors financial impropriety.
Mr Okoye further said that with the ongoing Presidential Investigation Panel set up to recover stolen money in NFF and Bimo FC’s case as well as James Peters’ against NFF in the Economic Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, the truth about mismanagement of money in NFF will be revealed and Pinnick and some of his board members will be in jail.
“Financial mismanagement in the NFF is caused by greed, stealing. The problem we have is that wrong people are managing our football. You cannot run Nigeria football like your father’s property. Football is the only thing that unites this country and now we have a group of cabal who are running the federation. Who now divert the money meant for the development of football in Nigeria into their private pockets and companies. Things like this are not done anywhere.
“If the government decides to find out what is happening in the NFF, I tell you, some people should already be in jail by now. The president of Ghana FA has been banned by FIFA for life and fined. Our problem in Nigeria is that we always support bad thing, that is our problem.
“I said it before and I say it again, how can the NFF sign a sponsorship contract with a company like Zenith Bank and Nigerians don’t know anything about it; you sign a contract with Nike, Nigerians don’t know how much? All these monies must be accounted for.
“The sad aspect of it is that when the Super Eagles are playing, they wear jersey with Coca Cola in front of the jersey. We are advertising coca cola in the whole world and Nigerians don’t know how much is Coca Cola given to the NFF. And the money that is meant for the development of football is diverted into private accounts. That is the problem we are having.
“Let me tell you something, Pinnick can be rubbing shoulders with Infantino but not when it comes to corruption and stealing. There are a lot of cases against him, all they just need is to get him with corruption issue and he is gone from the window.
“Pinnick is playing it smart but there is always an end to everything. They destroyed Nigerian football. I am saying it and I will prove it anywhere. Pinnick has been playing it clever but I think he is coming to the end of the road because by the end of the presidential panel investigation and by the time he finishes with banning Bimo FC from the NNL, Nigerians will get to know more truth on how our football is being run in the country. There are a lot of things that are coming out.
“Go to FIFA website, Pinnick has not collected a dime from FIFA from 2015, why? Other countries are collecting this money, why is Nigeria not collecting? Simply because the ones he collected, he could not show what he did with it. It is as simple as that.
“And the ones he collected, they are in court in Nigeria. Do you think that if they find Pinnick guilty of misappropriating the 3.9 billion naira, that the government will not remove him and put him in jail? Even FIFA will run away. FIFA don’t party with criminals and corrupt presidents.
“We all saw what they did to the former Ghana FA. If it where in Nigeria, maybe the person will still be there. But we all saw how Ghana and FIFA dealt with him. Before FIFA started, Ghana has already pushed him away. But in Nigeria issue, we have cases such as that of James Peters against NFF. What has come out of it? There are a lot of cases with proof against this federation.
“A company came and audited the account of the NFF and they told us that everything is ok. That company that audited the finance of the NFF, don’t you think that they have collected money to arrive at their conclusion?
“The people in NFF are fooling Nigerians and that is why the Nigeria football is already in the grave yard. Maybe I will work with the minister to bring it out from the grave yard,” Mr Okoye concluded.