AMOS ADAMU AND THE BRIBERY SCANDAL
The recent three-year suspension of Nigeria's Dr. Amos Adamu by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) Ethics Committee, following his indictment over World Cup bid vote scam, is a blur on the nation's image. It casts aspersion on the government's re-branding campaign.
With the suspension, Adamu will no longer function as a member of FIFA Executive Committee, member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Executive Committee, and President of West African Football Union (WAFU).
In his verdict, the Chairman of Ethics Committee, Claudio Sulser, said that 'unlike Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) President, Reynald Temarii, who was given a one-year suspended sentence, Adamu had clearly crossed the line when he asked the said American lobbyists to pay the money he requested to build some football academies into his private account rather than the account of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).' Adamu will cough out a fine of ?6,300 (N17.75 million) and Temarii, ?3,100.
Adamu and Temarii were docked following a damning report published in a UK broadsheet, The Sunday Times, which alleged that the two FIFA Executive Committee members had indicated that they were ready to sell their World Cup votes if the price was right. The lesson in Adamu's fall is that when we fail to tackle corruption headlong in the country, we will continue to be shamed and embarrassed abroad. By pronouncing Adamu guilty as charged, the world, through FIFA, is telling us that whatever evil we condone in Nigeria will not be tolerated outside our shores.
Adamu's conduct, as adjudged by the FIFA Ethics Committee, bordered on corruption and is, therefore, unacceptable. His inglorious outing is a blot on soccer administration in Nigeria. He should, henceforth, be restricted from all sports administration issues in the country. Had Adamu's case been in Nigeria, he would have been let off the hook, either for want of evidence or in a plea bargain, or some absurd technicalities that are commonplace in the administration of justice in the country. The FIFA Ethics Committee did not entertain such loopholes.
It is commendable that FIFA decided to verify the alleged malfeasance published by the UK newspaper to arrive at this decision. We give kudos to The Sunday Times for bringing to the fore this despicable conduct from Adamu and the Oceanic Football Confederation (OFC) President, Reynald Temarii. FIFA should not rest on its oars in ensuring that such bad eggs are not allowed in its midst.
That Adamu did not show remorse on the matter is also not good enough. It would have been more honourable if he had been humble enough to admit his misadventure. This is certainly not a matter for grandstanding and putting up a bold face. However, it is within his fundamental human rights to appeal the verdict, as he has done.
The embattled football administrator should also have seen this sorry end to his football administration career coming.
He should have been worried over series of allegations of corruption against him over the years, in the country. That the allegations of unconscionable sleaze have now extended to FIFA is unedifying. We enjoin the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to wade into this saga and investigate it and other sundry allegations of fraud in the nation's football administration involving him.
It is high time Adamu kept off everything football and sports in Nigeria. This is the right time for him to quit the football stage at national, continental and international levels.