NFF Presidency: Pinnick, Maigari, Ogunjobi, Okoye in Battle for Supremacy

By Daily Sports on September 17, 2018

You simply mentioned your names as Samuel and Yakubu from Plateau State in different telephone conversations on Monday, September 10, by 11pm and 1.30a.m respectively where you boasted that one million likes of Daily Sports cannot remove Solomon Dalung, the Sports Minister and Lawyer, from office until the present administration’s first term in office terminates on May 29, 2019. Lest we forget, Monday is the copy date of Sports Pulse column, a weekly column in your favourite and widely read online portal, Daily Sports.

For the records, I have met the Minister thrice since he assumed duty in the Ministry. One of them was in Lagos with a very mutual friend who facilitated it. They were all purely on official duty for this medium. And to be honest with you, I would not believe he sent anybody to threaten anybody on his behalf as Samuel and Yakubu did. I’m on the beat and legitimately too. No amount of intimidation would deter me from saying the truth and nothing but the truth no matter whose ox is gored. Daily Sports reports all sides.

I have not under-reported his Ministry and him. Our reports have also been balanced and authentic too. For the so-called Samuel and Yakubu to read last week’s column headlined, Salisu Yusuf Fraud: Where is Buhari’s EFCC? Where is ICPC?, in our all sports online platform left a sour taste in the mouth? Just want to draw your attention to the unwarranted ranting of these men.

This week we devote this page to the forthcoming Nigeria Football Federation 2018 general election that would usher in new executive committee members and the President. In that colouration, therefore, come Thursday, September 20, in faraway Katsina the dice will be cast. Already the candidates for the Presidency of the football house are known, as well as those vying for the executive committee positions. It won’t be out of place to vividly say that the stage is now set for the battle of the titans and who occupies the topmost position in the Sunny Dankaro House Abuja.

In the past, it used to be a foregone conclusion but now the scenario has changed. The intrigues and horse trading that would attain the Katsina 2018 NFF polls will be hot and would not be different from the kind of election Nigerians witness in the larger polity. Already it is given as an age-old practice in NFF elections that vote buying has come to be the order of the day. Consequently, the forthcoming election won’t be an exception.

The candidates are loaded to the brim. Fact is that some are being sponsored by the Federal government to ensure Amaju Pinnick who diminished it in the international stage would be routed out so that he would instantly be slammed with charges by the EFCC to account for money spent.

At least up till the time of putting this page to bed, the two government candidates are locked on who would step down for the other. Several meetings held failed to produce new results as both have often claimed of having the ears of top government functionaries and therefore will only do so if orders come from above.

The gist is that the incumbent is being careful and planned to lodge his loyalists in one hotel and if feelers reaching Daily Sports is anything to rely upon, they would be cut off from communication with the outside world until after the epic polls which the present government is highly interested in to see the outcome.

The executive committee members are presently speaking with one voice according to insider reports but don’t show the possibility of not being put asunder when huge money exchange hand as the D-day draws near. This poll will be most trying one due to the controversies that have trailed it and the road to Katsina 2018 elective congress of NFF has been rough and intriguing. Many factors and tricks employed by the government to stop Amaju Pinnick from making history as the incumbent NFA/NFF to retain second term have added more colour and spice to the whole saga and the kind of interest this power chasing race has attracted remains highest.

It is a known fact that All Progressives Congress is very interested in who will emerge as the helmsman of the Football governing body in the country. In that vein, it would in its usual characteristics go the extra mile to see if that would be accomplished to install either Taiwo Ogunjobi or Aminu Maigari depending on who steps down for the other. And so ‘Operation Amaju Pinnick must be defeated’ is on and in topmost gear.

The mobilisation and powerful team that comprised ex-Presidents or Chairmen of the body are on the loose. We are eagerly watching to see how they will accomplish that uphill task against Amaju Pinnick and his loyalists in most of the States FA chairmen and their Secretaries. To uproot Amaju Pinnick who used full 12 years plus to learn the terrain perfectly before diving into the murky waters of football politics nationally and internationally would pass for an upset.

He has heavily invested time, energy, learning, money and what have you into this arena, hence he played the leading role as one of the arrow heads that plotted perfectly the eventual free fall of Emperor Issa Hayatou who ruled CAF like a maximum ruler and held it closely hostage too. It is on that resounding note that CAF and FIFA do not joke with him. He extended same to the World ruling body that ushered in the Infatino-led FIFA executive committee.

If you like call him Amaju Pinnick the rock or master strategist. September 20 would be payback time and if nothing CAF and FIFA would ensure that there will be a free, fair and credible election to bring into being the new executive committee of Nigeria’s football governing body. However, except the unexpected happen, Amaju Pinnick and his men are returning, not because it has done any fantastic job that improved or to improve Nigeria football but the government did the campaign for him by its arms-twisting moves through Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung and his boys.  

Note that such wrong steps by the government bought over lots of sympathy for Amaju Pinnick and his gangsters. Having learned deep from a certain sports administrator, the Delta State-born administrator is wiser and does his bidding cleverly and tactically hence he has been weathering the storms thus far. The elective congress of the NFF coming up in Katsina State in a couple of days would be a litmus test for him. It will be one that would add more feathers to his cap or mar his road map and history-making as one man that presided NFF /NFA was twice. In 2014, he was not in the picture of frontline contestants but when the chips were down he stepped out and pronto emerged the supremo of the NFF. He learned on the ropes. Our football nosedived terribly we could not qualify for the records in the past until he salvaged it with the 2018 World Cup summit in Russia.

The September 20, NFF elections is significant in many aspects and it will be one to remember even many years after. It held a lot for the country. Amaju Pinnick haven established himself on the saddle and has all it takes to ensure the country would qualify for AFCON 2019 and possibly win one more premier African football summit showpiece and we will be in World Cup 2022 also. These and more are what await Nigeria during his second shot at the number one football seat in the country.

Let me make it clear that I’m not campaigning for him but with the benefit of hindsight, the above may not be different from what he wants to achieve. He may further tell his audience that it is consolidation.  For this reporter, anyone among the lot that will up the game in the country’s football in every sense of the word should mount the saddle.

Truth is that the game has turned from being the beautiful one to the sorrowful kind of. The national team has no definite identity any longer. The fans including colleagues that cover games involving the Eagles hold their hearts in their hands even against Togo or Benin.  Thorough turn around must be the watchword of who amongst the candidates that will win in the forthcoming poll. Nigerian football must be a priority and prominent. Nothing would be good enough than the above. The candidates are no minnows to the scene. They have credentials and no matter their track records, having scaled the hurdle of the NFF Electoral Committee, whatever allegation the public is leveling against them is immaterial. They have been cleared fit to stand for the election and therefore are doing all to emerge. See their intimidating credentials as captured by week, enjoy!

The coast is now clear with regards to the 20th September elections into the NFF Executive Committee 2018-2022, following the official release of the list of candidates for the polls by the NFF Electoral Committee on Friday. Four persons are battling for the presidency, including incumbent Amaju Melvin Pinnick, who is also the 1st Vice President of CAF, Member of the Organizing Committee for FIFA Competitions and President of AFCON.

Pinnick, a former Chairman of the Delta State Football Association and Executive Chairman of the Delta State Commission, is the highest-placed Nigerian ever in football’s boardroom globally. He has a very useful cordial relationship with world football’s top hierarchy. His Board also holds the ace of a blossoming positive appreciation by Corporate Nigeria that has galvanised considerable private sector funding of NFF’s activities.

There is also Alhaji Aminu Maigari, immediate past President of NFF, who was for several years Chairman of the Bauchi State Football Association and also headed the Bauchi sub-seat for the FIFA U17 World Cup that Nigeria hosted nine years ago. Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi, a former Nigeria international defender, also has his hat in the ring. Ogunjobi captained and administered one of Nigeria’s traditional powerhouse clubs, Shooting Stars of Ibadan, served as Secretary General of then Nigeria Football Association (2002-2005) and was Member of the NFF Executive Committee 2006-2010. He is presently Chairman of the Osun State Football Association.

There is also Mr. Chinedu Okoye, proprietor of amateur league club, Bimo FC. For the 1st Vice President’s position, there are two candidates. The incumbent, Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi, whose stock has risen steeply as a result of his passion, commitment and investment in youth football development and charity, slugs it out with another South West chieftain, Otunba Sunday Dele-Ajayi.

Incumbent Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau will battle club proprietor, Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, for the slot of Chairman of Chairmen on the board. For other positions on the Executive Committee, Alhaji Sharif Rabiu Inuwa, a Member of the present Board, is the only candidate from the North West.

The battle in the North Central has been somewhat narrowed with the withdrawal of FCT FA chairman Musa Talle. However, Alhaji Ahmed Yusuf ‘Fresh’ and Honourable Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande, ranking Members of the Board, have to contend with Alhaji Busari Ishola, chairman of Kwara State FA. Similarly, incumbents Babagana Kalli and Musa Duhu from the North East have to contend with Farouk Yarma Adamu. In the South East, Hon. Chidi Ofor Okenwa (presently Chairman of the Nigeria National League), will vie with Enyimba FC chairman, Chief Felix Anyansi-Agwu (ranking Member of Board); Barrister Jude Obikwelu (Vice Chairman, Anambra State FA); Sir Emmanuel Ochiagha (Vice Chairman, Imo State FA) and; High Chief Emeka Inyama (former Chairman of the NNL and former Chairman of NFF Marketing and Sponsorship, and also Chairman of NPFL side Abia Warriors).

From the South West, only Alhaji Ganiyu Majekodunmi, chairman of Ogun State FA, is seeking an Executive Committee member position. From the South-South, Oswald Atuake from Cross River State is up against Emmanuel Ibah, chairman of the Akwa Ibom State FA. Elections into the NFF Executive Committee 2018-2022 will hold as scheduled on Thursday, 20th September 2018 in the city of Katsina.

World football-governing body, FIFA, has concluded plans to send a top-ranking official as an observer to the elections. Do join me as usual as we take to the social media on the Twitter handle, Facebook, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and closely monitor and watch one of the most intriguing NFF elections! Keep shooting hard, till next week!!

Source Daily Sports

Posted September 17, 2018


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