Governor Adams Oshiomhole is no doubt a smooth talker, a politician with the background of activism. But unknown to many, having gained power, he appears to have added other special qualities to his already known attributes, and one of such qualities came to fore penultimate Saturday at the obsequies of late ex-Super Eagles coach, Amodu Shaibu.
During the funeral processions, Oshiomhole in a bereaved tone spoke about the conditions of indigenous coaches who might be suffering and dying in silence without letting others know about their predicament. He spoke glowingly of how the coaches suffered for the round leather game and contributed to the peace of the country through sports, but die like a fowl owing to lack of proper care.
In his words, “two days ago it was Stephen Keshi and now it’s Amodu. But with happened it appears that many of our coaches are dying in silence without many of us knowing.”
However, contrary to the governor’s claim that he’s not in the know of Amodu’s predicament, facts have emerged that Oshiomhole was deeply in the know of the penurious lifestyle of the late coach.
According to a report made by Punch newspaper this morning, the late ex-Super Eagles coach, as well as staff of the Edo State Football Academy, were owed N25m by the state government, before he died last Saturday.
Amodu died in his sleep at his residence in Benin, the state capital, and was later buried at his hometown in Okpella, Etsako East Local Government Area of the state.
It was gathered that the money included unpaid salaries, sign-on fees and house rent, according to a letter written by the late Technical Director of the Nigeria Football Federation and addressed to the state governor, Adams Oshiomhole, in October 2015
A cousin to the late Amodu, Akuri Afegbua, had alleged that Amodu died of frustration, due to the non-payment of his financial entitlements by the state government and the NFF.
Afegbua had explained that the late coach had travelled to Benin last week to press for the payment before he passed on.
A copy of the letter, which was obtained by The PUNCH, revealed that Amodu demanded N1m for outstanding sign-on fees for 2013/2014, N3m as consultant and technical adviser and N1.5m per year as house rent from 2012 to 2014
The balance of N16m represented payment for coaches and other support staff from August 2014, to July 2015.
Amodu had in the letter explained that his decision to write to the state government was based on alleged “misconceptions” which he had not been given an opportunity to clear.
He said efforts to reach the governor on the matter proved abortive.
But the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Kassim Afegbua, who confirmed the receipt of the letter, explained that the state government had in June 2015, halted the football academy which the late coach managed.
Afegbua, however, added that the state government had advised him to document his claims, when a bulk amount allegedly owed the late coach was brought to its notice.
Amodu in his letter said, “Your general body language and attitude towards me in the last few months clearly indicates that there may have been some misconceptions/misrepresentations which you have not given me the opportunity to clear.
“Sir, I have made several efforts through telephone calls and text messages to you to enable me sort out any issues that may have been misconstrued, but to no avail. I also tried to reach you through your close subordinates, but got no response.
“The only option was to relinquish my appointment and walk away, as I have always done in offices where I experienced similar treatment in the past. But this will amount to disrespect to your office and disregard to your care for me and my family, when we most needed it.”
Amodu added that the programme was suspended due to the hardship faced by the coaches and players owing to non-payment of their money.
According to the letter, the former Orland Pirates coach had expressed frustration over the alleged stoppage of his monthly salaries since June 2015, for no justifiable reason.
Amodu wrote, “This brought hardship to me and my family. Thanks for the understanding of my landlord; I would have been thrown out of my rented apartment for failure to pay my house rent in the last two years.
“I have come to the sad conclusion of taking the part of honour by respectfully resigning my appointment as consultant/technical adviser of the Football Development Programme in Edo.
“Although technically, my appointment seem to have been terminated by the Accountant General by the stoppage of my monthly salaries since June 2015, my official resignation takes a retrospective effect from September 30th, 2015,” he had added.
With Additional report from Punch newspaper.