The immediate past Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Barrister Solomon Dalung, has come under attack by the President of the Nigeria Football federation (NFF), Amaju Melvin Pinnick.
Speaking on Morning Show, an ARISE TV programme on Monday, Pinnick said the Plateau State born politician shouldn’t be taken seriously by anyone.
The FIFA Executive Council member said it is unethical and morally wrong for the minister to continue to cast aspersions on his predecessor, whom he said has brought stability to Nigerian sports, particularly football.
Dalung had in a recent interview made allegations of misappropriation of funds and other corrupt practices in sports, and challenged the Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, to explain the whereabouts of the N1bn released by the federal government for the senior female national basketball team, D’Tigress.
When asked to react to the former minister’s allegations, 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.”
Pinnick also said Nigeria’s qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is non-negotiable.
He said, “I always want to believe that by God’s grace, it is not negotiable. We are going to qualify.
“We would do our best in the enterprise in putting everything together to ensure that Nigeria qualifies because it is the only thing that unites this country.
“It makes the country very happy. That is why we are not leaving any stone un-turned to ensure that we qualify.”