Earlier this week, on his early morning sports program, Kenny Ogunmiloro had aired interviews granted by several former players who alleged that there was rampant corruption in the process of selecting players to represent the country.
On Wednesday, he had aired an interview granted by Chinedu Obasi, a former Nigerian international. According to Chinedu Obasi, he was supposed to be part of the Super Eagles squad to the 2013 Nations Cup which held in South Africa but was dropped for another player after he refused to oblige the coaching crew’s demand to pay a $10,000 “selections fee”.
According to the former Nigeria international: “to me it felt like a slap to my face because, I participated in all of the qualifiers leading up to that tournament. After we qualified, I sustained an injury which sidelined me for some time. I worked very hard to get back to fitness, only to be told that I must pay $10,000 to get into the team. I wasn’t ready to do that.”
Obasi added that the official reason given by the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, was that he missed out on the tournament as a result of injury. He however insisted that he was fully fit, leading up to that tournament.
Though he didn’t specifically mention any particular names, yet he kept referring to the ‘coaching crew’ as the ones who demanded that he paid the bribe, in order to be part of the squad for the tournament.
Though the claims cannot be independently verified. However, what is certain is that Daniel Amokachi, a former Super Eagles player, was an assistant coach of the national team between 2008 and 2014.
He was also an assistant coach to Late Stephen Keshi to the Nations Cup which Nigeria won in 2013. Kenny Ogunmiloro however insisted that, out of respect for the dead, he wasn’t trying to disrespect Late Stephen Keshi.
He however declared that his investigations would revolve mainly around Daniel Amokachi and others who were part of the national team coaching set up at that time.
When the allegations were brought to his attention, “Dan The Bull” denied the allegations and rather asked a rhetorical question. “If the allegations are true, why has he taken him (Obasi) six years to speak up?
But according to Kenny Ogunmiloro, Chinedu Obasi told journalists that he didn’t speak out at the time simply because he didn’t want to ruin his chances of representing Nigeria in future tournaments, possibly under a new coach.
According to him, now that he has retired from the national team, he has nothing to lose, hence his decision to voice out his frustrations.
Kenny during the course of his radio program, stated that several players had also confided in him that there is serious corruption going on within Nigerian football, particularly with regards to selecting players for major tournaments.
He had promised to get to the root of the matter by interviewing several former Nigerian internationals, including those who narrowly missed out on major competitions under controversial circumstances. He had asked his listeners to stay tuned, in order to monitor progress of the investigations.
However, many of his listeners were shocked this morning when the presenter beat a sudden retreat and told them that: “My listeners, I am sorry to inform you that the investigation that I was conducting about corruption in Nigerian football has now been indefinitely suspended.
My life is more important to me and my young family, than integrity in football administration. Over the last few days since I began the gradual expose about corruption in Nigerian football, I have received many death threats.
For instance, since I concluded my sports program yesterday morning, I have received at least five anonymous calls warning me and threatening my life and my family. Please respect my decision. Thank you.”
On Wednesday, Kenny Ogunmiloro had tried to play the hero when he openly called out top officials of the NFF, including its president, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, to disclose precisely how much they are to get from FIFA, as well as how they would spend it.
FIFA had promised bailouts to all of its affiliate national associations. The bailouts was to enable national associations cope with the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The amount due to the NFF is however, yet unknown.
“Ordinary Rwanda have confirmed receiving $500,000 from FIFA. They have also published to the whole world how they distributed the money to different clubs and other subsidiary associations. Why is our own NFF silent about the bailout from FIFA? They shouldn’t let this money disappear like others in the past o. We go shout!” – Kenny Ogunmiloro.
After announcing his decision to hands off the private investigations, some commenters on social media sent him messages live on today’s program, urging him to rescind his decision to quit, but Kenny was adamant that his decision was final.
On Tuesday, he had also featured a former coach who claimed that most Nigerian coaches were corrupt, especially in selection of players for major tournaments.
That same coach equally beat a retreat less than 24 hours later. He reportedly sent Ogunmiloro a message that same day to renounce all what he had said during the earlier live radio interview.
He even sent a long list of names of coaches who never took bribes in the course of their duties. He reportedly implored the presenter to please read out their names during the Wednesday live program.
The question now is, was that coach, who asked to be kept anonymous, also threatened in the same way that Kenny Ogunmiloro was also allegedly threatened? We may not have heard the last of this.