President of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Amaju Pinnick yesterday disclosed to Vanguard Sports that Christian Chukwu was appointed a life Ambassador of the Super Eagles with a monthly salary of N500,000 because of his contributions to the development of the game in the country.
He said the decision to appoint Chukwu an ambassador is a way of rewarding past players who have contributed to the development of the game in the country, adding that the football legend will equally accompany the Super Eagles to matches to help boost their morale.
"Chukwu is a legend of the game in Nigeria. The NFF decided to introduce this award as a way of rewarding past players who have contributed to the development of the game in Nigeria. As a Life Ambassador, Chukwu will be placed on a monthly salary of N500,000 as well as accompanying the Super Eagles to matches," he said.
He added that the gesture will be extended to other legends of the game who have equally contributed to the game.
Meanwhile, he called on other football clubs and state governments in the country to emulate Rangers Football Club of Enugu as well as the Enugu State government for their leading roles in the resuscitation of ailing Chukwu who through the club brought joy to many homes during his playing days.
According to Pinnick, the federation decided to be part of the healing process of the former Super Eagles captain and coach, Christian Chukwu because he is a living legend of the game in the country.
The NFF boss who spoke during a visit to Chukwu where business mogul, Femi Otedola redeemed the $50,000 pledge he made to the former Harambee Stars of Kenya coach, said he was delighted to see Chukwu in high spirits, noting that he "has paid his dues for the people of Nigeria".
He equally described Chukwu as "a legend that we love so much" adding that "we believe that his name has been written in people's hearts and in the annals of football in Nigeria".
What Amaju Pinnick told Christian Chukwu in Enugu
President of Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Amaju Pinnick, who accompanied Philip Akinola in company with Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Saturday Vanguard Editor, Onochie Anibeze, to present cheque to the ailing Christian Chukwu said the following at the residence of the football legend.
"We are here to acknowledge a super living legend, a legend that if you mention his name everybody shakes; a legend that has paid his dues for the polity called Nigeria, a legend that we love so much, a legend that would not be allowed to die, a legend that his name is already in the annals of history in Nigeria.
"We believe that if you call Christian Chukwu and confine him to Enugu state government, you will not be doing him any good because even Nigeria as a country is too small to accommodate him. The NFF from the beginning decided that we will be part of this. There were mistakes in the past but we have decided it will not happen again, hence we have decided we will acknowledge our legends at all points in time, it's not when they pass on we will say, oh he was a good man. Amodu Shaibu is gone. Stephen Keshi is gone. Our great striker, Rashidi Yekini is no more with us. And so it has been with us. We want to see how these heroes will stay and enjoy the fruits of their labour. It is for you that we have sports administrators. Without you, no FA. Without you, no CAF, no FIFA. So, we must recognise you. We are about to set up a foundation that will look into the lives of our footballers and advise them on life after football.
"For Christian Chukwu, we hope and pray that he goes for the treatment, returns in good health to be with us. We will appoint him Super Eagles Ambassador and he may have to be touring with the Eagles. Some stipends will follow this.
"The Cheque is basically to take care of his medical surgery, on our part, we don't want him to go to USA, we want him to go to England, we have already made arrangement with two hospitals because we still want him around and we will do everything within our resources to ensure he gets the best treatment."
"Femi Otedola has shown tremendous concern and made the money available. He would have been here with us but for other engagements that kept him away. But he has promised to visit you in London when your treatment is on. He will even speak with you shortly."
Pinnick commends Gov Ugwuanyi
Amaju Pinnick also commended the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for his administration's prompt intervention in offsetting the medical bills of the former captain of Rangers International Football Club, Christian Chukwu during his treatment at a clinic in Enugu.
"I have to thank the governor, who has been amazing, he is a role model for many people in terms of display of total humility, he is a man of destiny, you see a lot of positives radiating around him. This shows that he is a man of the people genuinely despite that he is a politician. I say thank you, Your Excellency, the good people of Enugu State are solidly behind you."
Commenting on the $50,000 donation by Otedola for Chukwu's treatment abroad, which was presented via a cheque to the family by his Chief Operating Officer, Akinola, the NFF President commended the Nigerian businessman and philanthropist for his display of "dexterity" describing him as an "astute administrator."
The NFF boss, who promised Chukwu the continued support of the Enugu State Government, the NFF, Otedola and other Nigerians, disclosed that arrangement was ongoing to fly him to England for further medical treatment, and reassured him that he will be much better after the trip.
"The truth is without you (Chukwu) there is no NFF; without you there is no CAF; without you there is no FIFA; without the players, there will be no administration. If we don't get that at the back of our mind and acknowledge your presence in ensuring total well being, acknowledging your presence is ensuring total package, ensuring that you live. We want to strengthen you to be closer to God, to be closer to your family and now know that Nigeria loves you beyond imagination", said Pinnick.
Appreciating the efforts of other contributors, he said: "I also want to thank the entire state football stakeholders, members of the executive committee, members of the Nigeria Football Congress and also your colleagues that have made us to know that you are facing this. We want to thank the ex-Rangers and the current Rangers players, among others"