Amaju Pinnick, president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has slammed the immediate past minister of youths and sports development, Solomon Dalung, describing him as someone who should not be taken seriously.
Dalung had alleged that the current sports minister, Sunday Dare, diverted N1 billion funds approved by the President Muhammad Buhari administration for sports development in the country.
The ex-sports minister, over the weekend, tackled his successor, over his comments on the alleged diversion of bonuses and allowances of Nigerian women’s basketball team, D’Tigress.
Dare had said he was not the minister when the bonuses meant for the women’s basketball team were not paid.
In a video uploaded to the official Facebook page of the Federal Ministry of Youth & Sports Development, the minister had said:
“These are allowances that are owed since 2017 when I was not even the minister.”
However, Dalung responded saying that the N1 billion was approved by Buhari and released since August 2019, for the basketballers’ bonuses.
Dalung had demanded the whereabouts of the money, pointing accusing finger at Dare to give explanation.
The whole confrontation came after members of the D’Tigress team expressed anger in a viral video, claiming that they are being owed allowances and bonuses, and threatening to boycott future call-ups to represent Nigeria for the 2022 World Cup qualification series, if all outstanding allowances are not paid.
But the NFF President, while speaking in an interview on the Morning Show with ARISE Television on Tuesday, said Dalung should not have spoken about the alleged diversion of funds in the manner that he did.
He stated that it is unethical for the former minister to continue to cast aspersions on his successor.
Pinnick noted that Dare has brought stability to Nigerian sports, especially football.
When asked to comment on the allegation made by Dalung against Dare, Pinnick said: “I think that is very pathetic.
“You do not de-market or disparage a system or Government that gave you extraordinary opportunity to be a Minister. You enable that Government from behind.
“For instance, a month to the Olympics, Ese Brume’s dad was very ill. He needed money for surgery. He called me and I provided funds for him to go for the operation.
“The father didn’t call Ese because she was concentrating on her preparations for the Olympics.
“She never knew about the surgery until after the Olympics. That is how you help a system that nurtured you to that great height.
“So, what was his motive. To me there are somethings that are better left unsaid about the former Minister.
“You can’t come to public space and be criticising your successor daily, saying things that are not meant to be said. It is morally wrong, it is unethical.
“Under Sunday Dare, I am not here to defend him, there is relative stability in Nigerian football. I don’t want to go into any form of comparison because to say the truth, there is no basis for comparison.
“There are some people who shouldn’t be taken seriously. I don’t like talking about individuals when we should be talking about issues, issues that will bring about solutions and not killing myself over things that visibly, we all know that there is a motive. And what is that motive? It is a sense of entitlement to that office.”