Former footballer and chairman of Professional Footballers Association of Nigeria (PFAN) Task Force, Harrison Jalla, has reacted to the response of NFF’s Secretary-General, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi on his earlier write up querying the delay on completing the seemingly abandoned FIFA Goal Projects in Birnin Kebbi and Ugborodo respectively, by the contractors.
The contractors had valiantly defended their actions and inactions on the projects, sighting inadequate fundings and unforeseen exigencies. However, Dr. Sanusi, in his response had debunked the claims of abandonment, while also stating that the monies collected by the NFF, was a sharp contrast from the amounts published by Jalla.
Unrelenting, Jalla renowned for his unending quests for probity and integrity in public service, in his latest reaction stated that he would remain resolute by standing by his earlier publications on the financial dealings of the NFF, which must be made a public issue.
“Let me reiterate that the clarification I was seeking on FIFA forward 1.0 and 2.0 funds has nothing to do with the Ibrahim Gusau led NFF administration, which has been on course since inception on 30th September 2022. And the face of the Gusau’s administration has been the Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye led Interim management committee (IMC),” Jalla began in his statement.
“So far, nothing has been opaque or clandestine about how the IMC is running the NPFL under Ibrahim Gusau’s watch. Every step in repositioning the NPFL has been transparent, with adequate information in the public domain. It’s a far cry from the filth of the past when NPFL under the table sponsorship deals are weaved around Mediterranean Sports Limited, a conduit to ferry funds into private pockets and the warehousing of public funds with Financial Derivatives Limited.”
“Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, the Secretary-General of the NFF swiftly reacted to my post of 13th February 2023 on the above subject matter in which I raised several issues including $10m received from FIFA for forward 1.0 and 2.0 for projects and administration. The NFF general secretary evaded germaine issues raised and smoothed it over by accusing me of misleading the public.
“Dr. Sanusi admitted only $4m from forward 2.0 circle which he tied to Ugborodo and Birnin Kebbi projects. But my assertion was clear, as I made reference to funds received from FIFA forward 1.0 and 2.0 as $10m for projects and administration. And I further asserted that same administrative cost is also provided for the NFF by the federal government through annual appropriation from the federation account.
“The funds released to the NFF in forward 1.0 that ended in December 2018 for projects and administration is $2,750,000. While in forward 2.0 that ended in December 2022, the NFF received $6m plus another $1m for federations that cannot internally generate $4m annually. Put together, the NFF received $7m for projects and administration for forward 2.0 that ended in December 2022.”
Jalla continued, “I challenge the NFF general Secretary to prove me wrong by publishing the state of accounts of FIFA forward 1.0 and 2.0. The NFF is a national asset and a Nigerian project that must toe the path of transparency and accountability.”
“The several streams of funds from FIFA 2014-2022, would soon be revisited as it is imperative to clarify issues. Fortunately, we are privileged to still have Dr Sanusi on the drivers seat as Chief Executive of the NFF Secretariat and the custodian of all funds, having held same position from 2014 to date.”
“On the Ugborodo goal project, Dr. Sanusi admitted ‘unenvisaged problems’. Including difficulties in assessing the land, the nature of the land and inflation due to present economic realities. So it’s clear from conception that the Ugborodo goal project was grossly under valued for being on almost same cost level with Birnin Kebbi.
“And raising the issues back again with FIFA, would now mean varying the original cost of the project. So whose negligence is this?. On the Birnin Kebbi goal project, many posts surfaced on the social media showing the current status of the project.”
“On the 21st of September, 2020, the Governor of Kebbi State, His Excellency Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, performed the official foundation laying ceremony of the Birnin Kebbi goal project on a land acquired and donated by the Kebbi State Government, after paying 19m Naira to land owners.
“In his remarks at the foundation laying ceremony Dr. Sanusi said the project is expected to be completed in six months, as they hope to commission it by end of March 2021 and the total cost of the project is $1,189, 470.
“Why is the Birnin Kebbi goal project still lingering on? Whose fault? FIFA or the contractor?,” Jalla quizzed rhetorically.
“My good friend Dr Sanusi should not misrepresent holding the NFF accountable as a pull down syndrome. As a public office holder Sanusi is obliged to address issues raised concerning FIFA forward 1.0, 2.0 and the Ugborodo and Birnin Kebbi goal projects.”
” I further reiterate my appeal to the NFF president Ibrahim Gusau, to set up a panel of inquiry to look into all streams of FIFA funding from 2014-2022, which obviously has translated to nothing, and all sponsorships money received by the sacked league management company (LMC) from 2012, as a self-cleansing measure to restore the private sector and investors’ confidence in Nigeria Football. We shall continue to ensure that these issues are on the front burner until the needful is done,” Jalla reiterated in conclusion.