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EAGLES MUNDIAL MESS, GOD AVENGES FOR AMODU

By NBF News

In last week's column, I dealt with one of the injunctions of Almighty God which the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) contravened when it stopped Amodu Shuaibu from leading the Super Eagles to the World Cup in South Africa. This is the Lord's order that people must honour promises and agreements reached with fellow human beings which among others is in the Holy Bible Book of Numbers Chapter 30:1-11. I also showed that the Heavenly Father punishes those who go against His instruction on keeping to promises and agreements as stated in Joshua 9:1-27. I said it amounted to promise-breaking that the NFF dropped Amodu after he led the Super Eagles to the final of the African Nations Cup in Angola in January, winning the bronze medal when the mandate given to him was that the team reaches the semi-final stage.

Today, I am dealing with fairness and justness which are the other laws of the Lord the NFF flouted by the way it treated Amodu. In addition, I am also letting it be known that the Holy One in the Holy Bible also placed curses on anyone who disobeys any of His laws and teachings. I will end by analyzing how the manner in which the Super Eagles lost their first two matches and drew the last one were divine acts caused by NFF's maltreatment of Amodu.

In Deuteronomy 16:20, Moses, the great prophet of the Ancient of Days, enjoined the Israelites to: 'Always be fair and just, so that you will occupy the land the Lord, your God is giving to you and so that you will continue to live there.' While Proverb 21:3 says: 'Do what is right and fair; that pleases the Lord more than bringing Him sacrifices.' Deuteronomy 27:11-26 is one of the places where the King of Heaven places curses on anyone who will disobey any of His laws and teachings, with the last verse showing that all of the Lord's directives, not some of them must be obeyed.

As true believers should know God's commandments are eternal and apply to all human beings and all aspects of their lives whether in politics, spiritual, sporting or social matters and whether they are Christians, Muslims or of another faith or even if they are atheists.

This year's World Cup is the third time Amodu would be dropped from leading the Super Eagles to the Mundial after being called in on a rescue mission when it appeared the coaches handling the boys may fail to get the team to qualify. The defunct Nigeria Football Association (NFA) did it to him in 1998 after Frenchman Philippe Troussier had to leave in September 1997 six months after he was employed. Amodu was brought in and he succeeded in getting the team to qualify for the 1998 Mundial. But as soon as he achieved that, the NFA went to bring in Serbian-born Bora Milutinovic to lead the Super Eagles to the tournament in France because they felt Amodu was not a world-class coach.

In 2001, with three matches to go if the Super Eagles drew any of the remaining games the team will not qualify for the 2002 World Cup to be co-hosted by Japan and South Korea. Consequently, Coach Bonfere Jo (Johnnes in full) from the Netherlands, who had been handling the team since 1999 was sacked and Amodu recruited on a salvaging mission. He led the Super Eagles to win all the three matches in grand style beating Sudan 4 – 0 in an away game and defeating here in Nigeria, Liberia 3 -1 and Ghana 3 – 0.

After that, Amodu led the Super Eagles to the Africa Nations Cup in Mali where the team placed third winning the bronze medal. But a few days after the tournament ended, the then Minister of Sports, the late Mr. Stephen Akiga, sent Amodu packing on the ground that the team did not play scintillating soccer. With about three months to go, Coach Adegboye Onigbinde was engaged to lead the Super Eagles to the World Cup. As to be expected, the team crashed out during the group stage.

To be continued
Babalola's NNPC gaffe
I would not have gone into this issue at all last week if not for the ridicule and disgrace Nigeria was put into on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) news bulletin and Network Africa feature programme I listened to between 4 and 5am two Wednesdays ago. When asked if the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was truly bankrupt as Mr. Remi Babalola, the Minister of State for Finance, had said, the first reaction of the organization's Public Affairs Manager, Mr. Levi Ajuonuma, was a derisive laughter. He then told the BBC correspondent he had to begin the demonstrative way he had done because the minister's statement was actually a laughable matter.

He said how could the NNPC be insolvent because it had not paid the N450 billion expected from it into the Federation Account when the Federal Government is owing the corporation N1.56 trillion from the subsidy it guaranteed in selling oil to Nigerians at a lower price than what the competitive international market dictates. Ajuonuma said the NNPC had told the government to deduct the N450 billion it owed the Federation Account and return the balance of the N1.156 trillion it is owing his organization.

After Ajuonuma's explanation an American or English financial expert was interviewed by a BBC staff on the matter. The man said he was surprised that the Nigerian Minister of State for Finance could say such a thing a few days after China agreed to invest 23 billion U.S. dollars in the construction of refineries in the country. The white expert said Babalola's revelation could make China think twice if it should go ahead with the agreement in the light of the new information it was not aware of before committing itself to assist Nigeria. He said this is because Babalola's statement shows that the NNPC is inefficient, under performing and riddled with corruption and which means that the Chinese will find it difficult to recover the money to be expended on the construction of the refineries.

In the evening of the day the BBC programme on Nigeria was aired, the Minister of Information and Communication, Professor (Mrs) Dora Akunyili, after the meeting of the Federal Executive Council was reported to have told news men in Abuja that the NNPC contrary to what the Minister of State for Finance had said was not bankrupt.

That to me meant that the NNPC financial situation had been discussed at the cabinet meeting and Akunyili was mandated by the Federal Executive Council to issue the statement she made?

From what I read four days ago in this week's edition of The Nation On Sunday Pages 65 and 71: ' How the Minister got in trouble over NNPC indebtedness,' I see that Ajuonuma's statement was correct and that the minister shouldn't have said what he said. But if he stated that the Federal Government was also owing the NNPC N1.156 trillion and this aspect of his pronouncement was not reported by the press he should have come out to draw attention to this fact. But in view of the agreement between Nigeria and China he should not even have made public the poor financial situation of the NNPC because of the danger it poses to national interest.

It must be said too that the BBC did not act professionally enough. Once it reached out to Ajuonuma for NNPC's reaction the etiquette of media practice makes it obligatory for the radio station to have contacted Mr. Babalola to find out if the statement credited to him on the NNPC financial situation was correct or not. If he acknowledged it's authenticity the BBC would then have asked him why he made it and if he did not consider it detrimental to Nigeria's interest.