12 November 2008

Nigeria: Controversial Exit of Amos Adamu

Like, a cat with nine lives, Dr.Amos Adamu has survived all moves to either sack or redeploy him to another ministry.

In fact, he is usually referred to, as Mr. Fix it because of the role he has played in convincing government to host international competitions even when government does not feel the need for such. In the sports ministry where he operates, he is seen as a Capo, whose influence cuts across all the parastatals under the sports ministry, therefore, his blessings is seen as an approval. Adamu wields so much powers both locally and internationally that, he is considered the only Nigerian good enough to be an executive member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA). Aside from these two positions, Adamu is also the President of West Africa Football Union (WAFU). He is the head of a cabal that has controlled the sports ministry for close to two decades, infact he once referred to everybody in the ministry as his boys.

Last week, however, Adamu, the Director General of the National Sports Commission was eventually redeployed to the office of the head of service after the removal of Abdulrahman Gimba, Minister for Sports and Chairman National Sports Commission, during last weeks cabinet reshuffle. The redeployment of Adamu, to most sports technocrats and followers, is long overdue having been accused several times of being part of the problem of Nigerian sports, due to the role he has been playing in the development of sports in the country. Although Adamu has been instrumental to the hosting of all the majors international championships in the past one decade, the impact of such ventures were not positively felt as far as the country's sports development was concerned. The fortune of sports instead dwindled in the last ten years.

Adokiye Amiesimaka (MON) hailed the decision to redeploy Adamu, stressing that Adamu's exit was better late than never.

"This gentleman has been in the sports ministry for so long. Everybody knows he has been a thorn in the flesh of Nigerian Sports. It's like his removal has come too late than never", says the man fondly called Chief Justice. Till date the accounts of the All Africa Games 2003 tagged "COJA 2003", has not been made public four years after the event had ended despite many public outcries for EFCC to investigate financial activities of the games. Adamu was a principal actor in the project.

His recent redeployment is speculated to be connected with the scandalous N37 billion budget for next year's world youth championship which made the federal government renege on its promise to host the championship.

Adamu and others in the sports sector, made several efforts to convince government to change its mind. It was even gathered that attempts were made to instigate FIFA to ban Nigeria from hosting and participating in international competitions in future.

Amos Adamu holds a doctorate degree in physical and health education and for 10 years, between 1991 and 2001, was the director of sports development in the ministry of sports.

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