As the inclusion of Abba Bichi, son of the Director-General of the Department of State Services, in Nigeria’s squad for the Golden Eaglets U-17 team in the ongoing FIFA U-17 World Cup continues to generate buzz, more details have emerged how the inclusion of Bichi’s son was facilitated.
Sources have revealed how Second Vice President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Shehu Dikko, masterminded how Bichi’s son was smuggled into the final team list submitted by coach Manu Garba to FIFA despite his name not being on the 50 players provisional list.
SaharaReporters had published how top NFF officials coerced Garba into selecting Bichi and even threatened him if he does not give-in to the request.
It was revealed that Garba had expressed doubt in the ability of the young lad to break into the team.
Also, to accommodate Bichi’s son into the team, Garba had to drop one of the regulars in his team.
However, fresh facts have revealed that Dikko hatched and implemented the plan with the support of some NFF officials.
Multiple sources disclosed to SaharaReporters that Dikko came through with the plan to seek favour on his corruption case with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The ICPC is investigating Dikko and some other executives of the NFF for financial malpractices and diverting funds meant for the association.
The ICPC in September obtained a court order to seal a house belonging to Dikko in Rivers State.
“The inclusion of DSS boss’ son was to get favour and goodwill.
"Dikko carried out the plan so that he and other NFF executives undergoing investigation by EFCC and ICPC would be free.
“This was perfectly planned out at a time NFF is under intense watch and investigation,” sources said.
NFF President, Amaju Pinnick; First Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi; Dikko; and another executive member, Yusuf ‘Fresh’, are all facing corruption case in a 17-count charge on misappropriation of $8.4m belonging to the football body.
The NFF executive members had been ordered to appear in court on November 5 2019, which is the next adjourned date for the case.
Meanwhile, the NFF had claimed that Oduko was selected by the coach because of his understanding of the game and skills, countering claims that he was dropped for a fellow teammate.
“Bichi is a striker; Oduko is a left-back.
"Oduko was dropped for Charles Etim. Oduko was the player that lost the kick in the shootout with Guinea in the semifinals of the U17 AFCON in Tanzania, which condemned Eaglets to the third-place match,” said NFF media officer, Demola Olajire.
The Golden Eaglets had played two matches in the ongoing tournament but Bichi is yet to feature in the competition.