Former chieftains of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Sani Lulu, Bolaji Ojo-Oba and Mazi Amanze Uchegbulam have called for unrestrained autonomy in the day-to-day administration of domestic football to deepen its development.
Speaking against the backdrop of their trial following the disputed Super Eagles funding for the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 as well as subsequent clearance for non-corruption and acquittal after eight years of litigation, the trio affirmed their exoneration should be documented for posterity.
“June 9 is like June 12 to us; I mean me as well as Lulu, Ojo-Oba and late Taiwo Ogunjobi,” Uchegbulam who was 1st Vice President under the Lulu-led NFF board, explained.
“Every June 9 is a day of victory for us and it’s about time we allow Nigerians and indeed the world to know that we were tried for no just cause because throughout the trial, no question regarding supposedly lost money and erroneously fed the public was asked.
“We were discharged and acquitted with no case submission after wrongly dragged before the court for almost ten years by petulant officials from the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development led by the former Director-General of National Sports Commission (NSC), Dr. Patrick Ekeji.”
Lulu noted that his tenure as the custodian of the game between 2006 and 2010 should go down as the best for its fiscal propriety even so after the nine-point corruption charges against the quartet were quashed by the court.
“With all modesty, our tenure at the NFF was the best in recent and I make bold to say that,” Lulu noted. “We inherited a debt of N300m from the Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima-led board but apart from clearing the debts; we left an impressive N2.8b in the coffers of NFF at the time we were forcefully removed from office on July 2010.”
Ojo-Oba who was the then NFF Secretary General noted that the ordeal they went through after the 2010 World Cup can be described as nothing but sheer wickedness.
“Frankly, our tenure deserved nothing but a gold medal but what we got was an unnecessary trial that dragged on for eight years but it’s a thing of joy that all the four of us were cleared and we wished Taiwo Ogunjobi is alive today for us to celebrate the uniqueness of June 9 in the history of Nigerian football,” noted the former Oyo State Sports Commissioner.