After he made several allegations of financial impropriety about Nigerian Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick in an Orange FM radio interview, both the Ondo State Football Association and the NFF have released statements distancing themselves from Otunba Dele Ajayi.
Ajayi, a former NFF executive member, accused Pinnick of financial wrongdoing and ‘mismanagement’ while claiming to have evidence to back his claims. However, his state's board members have condemned their chairman’s allegations as ‘malicious’, ‘false’ and an ‘unreasonable bother on the NFF’s integrity’.
In a communique signed by the Ondo State FA and made available to Goal, the board reiterated its support for Amaju Pinnick and the NFF.
The statement reads: “Otunba Dele Ajayi is the Chairman of Ondo State Football Association. Notwithstanding, we the major football stakeholders in the State outrightly dissociate ourselves from damaging comments made by Otunba Ajayi on an Akure-based radio programme on Sunday, January 20, 2019. The comments albeit malicious, false and unreasonable bother on the integrity of the Nigeria Football Association (NFF) led by Mr Amaju Pinnick.”
“Our resolve on the issue is based on the account of the clean bill of health in the audit report of PriceWaterCoopers, a firm respected for its uncompromising professionalism in accounting. It also took into consideration the unprecedented achievements of the NFF under Mr Pinnick.
“We acknowledge the fact that Ondo State football has begun to enjoy relative peace since Barrister Seyi Akinwumi led a strong NFF team to find a long lasting solution to the crisis which had befallen the State FA. Ever since the team's meeting, the stakeholders have heeded the advice of the NFF vice chairman to eschew bitterness for the sake of football and prosperity.
“We members of the State football stakeholders are peace loving and respect a constituted authority. We pledge our unalloyed and unwavering support for the NFF and equally pledge our allegiance to Mr Pinnick and the board members.”
The NFF has also responded to the allegations, claiming that the statements made by Ajayi on Orange FM were ‘falsehoods’ and that he was misleading the public.
“In as much as the NFF is not interested in joining issues with such a man of shifty personality, granted his activities since the summer of last year, it is important we address some of his comments as they are already in the public space and can be accessed by persons in football and other sectors,” the NFF statement read.
“He grandly claimed there was mismanagement at the NFF without being able to substantiate any with documents. This is the same pattern that we have seen over the months with the mob action and media trial all over the place, especially from persons and groups who lost out in the NFF elections.
“We insist there is no mismanagement under the administration of Amaju Pinnick but absolute transparency in the way and manner it puts out all its activities in the open for the good of the game.
“Dele-Ajayi claimed there were no approvals for three years while he was a member of the Nff executive committee under the Pinnick presidency. Yet, he remained on the board! For purpose of clarity, every financial expenditure was based on the NFF budget as approved by the congress and was brought to the board for approval and it is on record that during the first term of Pinnick, there were 20 meetings of the executive committee.
“We doubt if any other board in living memory had as many meetings. The NFF has kept accurate records of all finances as audited by PwC and approved by the Congress. Indeed, the NFF has for the first time, published its annual audited accounts in major national dailies to deepen its transparency mantra.”
“The biggest shock was his claim that Fifa released the sum of three million dollars to the NFF and it did not get to the NFF account! That is a new one on us. We never knew that world football –ruling body, Fifa can pay even once cent (not to talk of three million dollars) meant for a member Association to an individual’s private account.
“There was another claim that Caf gave the NFF the sum of $1million before the World Cup. This is a man who claims to have documents? The whole world is aware that Fifa, on request by Caf, gave each of the five African
representative MAs to the World Cup the sum of $2million to settle the entitlements of players in order to avoid rumpus/players’ protests at the finals, as had been the case at previous championships.
“This money was the bulk of the $2.8million the NFF utilized in settling our players and officials. Caf gave each of its five representative Member Associations the sum of $500,000, specifically for technical equipment and personnel to enhance performance at the World Cup. Any other funds NFF received from CAF are funds statutorily meant for the NFF.
“We use this opportunity to alert the general public to disregard these statements of Otunba Dele-Ajayi and his cohorts who, having lost out in the political processes of the NFF, have now resorted to mob action methods of spreading falsehood against the NFF and its leaders, with the objective of destroying the NFF brand since they feel they are no longer part of it.”