*Mischief more in his issue than facts
It’s a fact we all know and are happy that Nigeria will be in Russia for the 2018 senior men’s World Cup finals.
But then must the Hon minister speak on what he has no knowledge of just because he wants to score a victory point?
Here him further on our qualification:- “This is because it will be the first time that a World Cup qualifier is being prosecuted with out a Presidential Task Force with a bogus budget. This has also saved the government billions of Naira with the same result achieved with less funds.” – S .Dalung
To some extent talking out of ignorance can be excused but where one speaks out of context and with some elements of mischief it is only right to disabuse his ignorance and give a proper account of things to clear the minds of those that have come across such statements.
I am not the spokes person of the 2010 Presidential Task Force and any way they never had one but I was part of it from day one as Head of its versatile Secretariat and custodian of all its correspondences. And under the rules of engagement I see myself as a part of that Nigerian Project. Hence my resolve to at any time when people of no knowledge speak on the Presidential Task Force (PTF) and with mischief bring out in clear terms what PTF did and did not do. Never have I spoken on PTF from point of Colouration or sentiments. And Never will I.
One of the mandates of the PTF was to:
Out source for Funds to prosecute its well marshalled programme for our successful participation in the 2010 World Cup to be staged in Africa for the first time.
This was drummed into the ears of the PTF by the late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua (May he be in the company of our beloved Prophet, S.A.W.S. Ameen) while inaugurating them at the State house. No one could have with a smile accepted this challenge at that time but for the Chairman it was a no challenge. He went on to make a promise of zero request for funds.
So from day one even for logistics there was zero budget/request to government for Funds.
At its inaugural meeting the Chairman, Rotimi Amaechi, made it very clear that theirs is not a tea party or a meeting of friends to eat lunch.
From there on strategies were drawn on how to go about getting funds to ‘expend’ or sorry, to drive the PTF ‘s programme. It was then they agreed on a funds raising dinner.
In his usual manner and to demonstrate his commitment the chairman called several of his friends and before you know it hundreds of thousands of $ were promised in support of the PTF.
Secondly the immediate challenge at that time was our away match with Algeria. Players morale was low, technical crew was not the best, how will the team travel as there was no budget for the trip and so on .
As usual the PTF Chairman made some calls and within a twinkle of an eye an aircraft was gotten. One of his friends has sent $100,000 in support of the trip;
Administrative approval was got to raise the players winning bonuses to $10,000. A firm resolve was taken to get a foreign coach in line with aspirations and wishes of Nigerians if we qualify for the finals.
On and on that was how the PTF worked until the big day when a Fund Raising Dinner was held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa to raise funds for our participation at the World Cup proper having successfully secured a ticket.
The sum of N1.470billion was raised with government donating N1b which came to PTF accounts in tranches.
So where does Mr Minister got his information since he has not landed in Abuja then and was never known to be a sports enthusiast that PTF was funded through a “bogus budget”
Has Mr Minister looked at the calibre of Nigerians that constitute the PTF and their proven integrity and disposition? I am sure he would not have made such a statement.
Lest I forget, at the time when the PTF finished its assignment they had a balance of over N400million which they could have ‘expended’ or share among themselves but nay they decided to use that balance to give our Football Federation a befitting secretariat situated at package B of the Abuja National Stadium. The structure is still there but undergoing restructuring.
Not all people could make such a big sacrifice at a time when they were holding sway. They could have used that balance to buy themselves each a house in Abuja especially in one of the districts like Gwarinpa. But, nay. Their resolve was to leave a legacy for Nigerian Football. And they did.
You can confirm the veracity or otherwise of my submission here from your colleague who was the Chairman of the PTF, Rt Hon Rotimi C Ameachi, Hon Minister for Transport; And also this distinguished and the great Nigerians who were members of the Task Force:
1. HE Ambassador Buba Ahmed (MON);
2. Engr Sani Ndanusa and or Alh Bolaji Abdullahi
3. Chief Segun Odegbami (MON)
4. Dr Larry Izamoje
5.Col A Aminu (Rtd)
6. Amb John Fashanu
7. Mr John Mastoroudes
9. Sani L. Abdullahi and or Alh Aminu Maigari
10. Austin Jay Jay Okocha
11. Dr Patrick Ekeji—–Member/Secretary .
So, Mr Minister there was no budget/request let alone a bogus one from the Presidential Task Force on the 2010 FIFA World Cup either at the qualification stages or the finals to the government of that time.
I stand to be corrected.
Mallam Abba Yola, the Ciroma’n Kano, sent in this piece from Abuja