Second Term: Amaju Pinnick, Other NFF Heavyweights Home to Roost •How Pinnick Broke the Jinx

By Daily Sports on September 24, 2018

The result of the then much talked about and fought elective congress of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is no longer news.

However, one must commend the peaceful, transparent, free, fair and credible exercise enabled by the conduct of voters and critical stakeholders all through despite the highly tensed and naked wired atmosphere that follows such engagement.

To wit, the buildup was like an earthquake and as some said, thunder and brimstone or ground shaking encounter if you like, between two major political parties in the land.

Admit it or leave it, the federal government through the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung was deeply interested in the outcome of the elections, never mind it’s tactical withdrawal when it saw the failure handwriting on the wall that made it abandon Dalung like an orphan. It was obvious it tried all tricks to stop Amaju Pinnick shortly after FIFA shunned audience with Dalung. It went back to the drawing board to unearth trumped up allegations which also failed to fly.

However, after all, said and done, the Congress finally held in the ancient city of Katsina, North Western Nigeria on September 20. It was a significant election in many ways. Aside from the choking intrigues that cropped up until the last minutes of the poll, it was one election that tampered with the long history of no NFA/NFF President scaling a second term hurdle back to the office with the age-long jinx broken resoundingly and in grand style.

Amaju Pinnick was returned with walloping 34 out of 44 votes. It was an overwhelming passing vote of confidence on the man and his team explaining further on a lighter mood the saying that “Warri man no dey carry last”.

After the election, I don’t know whether you saw it too; during his victory remarks, I saw a more humbled Amaju Pinnick. His steadfastness was dripping and countenance unassuming while he was making his acceptance speech. The Warri born administrator showed a sincere desire for service. 

I was humbled that moment by his general comportment in faraway Katsina State that tears rolled down my cheeks as if there was anything except the overall good of the game for me. I watched with amazement such unfeigned humility coming from a man many has pointedly seen as arrogant and blunt.

Let me be honest with you that from the day I met one on one with Amaju in an exclusive conversation through a very mutual friend during and shortly after Garden City Games 2011 otherwise known as Port Harcourt 2011 National Sports Festival, where his Delta State took the overall in the medals table, I never saw him as one arrogant. Maybe this is because of my own nature that does not permit looking at people’s face when on the beat in spite of such stories flying aroundt in spite of such stories flying around him.  I saw him rather as one that never takes NO for an answer, a goal getter with never say die spirit and a ranger of a great sort. He is a thoroughly bred sportsman who can die on what he believes vehemently in. He also has a good mind and heart too.  He is one bubbling with fresh ideas and hungry to deliver. As a human, he does not and has not claimed perfection either. Rather it is the lily-livered that has oftentimes accused him of bigotry, of being overbearing and a Mr. knows it all. 

These set of people I have in this page described as armchair critics with that bring him Down syndrome mindset and backbiters. Let me point this out that in our last week write-up on this page, we gave it to him after extensive responses from across the country especially those that have the voting right.

They gave the victory to him because of what they chorused as his deep sense of responsibility and acuteness to steer the ship of our football to solid safety anchor which subsequent regimes can safely build on. And as a responsible media that reports all sides, we did just same and promised to celebrate his victory this week. It was a no holds barred copy. What we saw last Thursday in Katsina was hard won and breaking of the age-long jinx of no incumbent returning for the second term. When he was declared the winner in that landslide victory manner, I screamed to high heavens in my corner of the newsroom and said.” Daily Sports saw it coming!

Truth is that he has a lot of burden on his shoulders right now. The journey to qualify Nigeria to the 2019 AFCON is already on stream. UAE 2022 World Cup qualification is also a must and ensuring the Super Eagles would do resoundingly exceptional in the summits are some of the worries already staring on his face.

It is no doubt what could make one grow in the daylight lots of grey hairs. Suffice it is to say, one believes he knows the direction he will tilt his strategies so as to produce daunting results which incidentally is the only language fans understand in times like this. No more mere participation in the tournaments either AFCON or the World Cup because Nigeria has the capacity to advance tremendously if all hands would truly be on deck.  One must vividly point out here that the good thing about what just happened in Katsina State is that the kind of background Amaju Pinnick put on ground during his first tenure,  his pet programme of discovering and attracting Nigerian born players aboard willing to lace their boots for the country, to the Super Eagles would be boosted.

We saw the likes of Uzoho, Balogun, Ekong, Iwobi, and other boys from England, another heartwarming one is also the latest news from the lad plying his trade in Germany who pledged to play for Nigeria if invited and revealed that he is ready to start from any level of the national team to grow. That is great talk, expectation and good product if his towering height is harnessed to become anything to be relied upon.

The towering defensive midfielder is rearing to go. The above credit goes to Amaju Pinnick as these younger but imaginative lads plus more that would be discovered would readily form great replacements for some of the aging Eagles players. Amaju Pinnick used the first shot at the hot seat as learning ground and would no doubt consolidate his grounds presently. One envisages more of Amaju spiced superlative performances that would surpass the previous laurels and solid re-foundation for our football. One believes that such and more are achievable if all hands would work closely together, no more no less and most importantly the act of bringing down syndrome either totally or comprehensively discarded forthwith in the minds of fellow administrators.

The naked truth is that the die is cast. Amaju Pinnick through vision, depth planning, execution, focus, and sundry broke the no second term jinx which has lived with the football governing body for many decades now.

One of the strong points of this man is that he does not believe in telling bicycle story all the time or cry over spilled milk. He does not also speak on the drop of a hat. His work rate is coupled with determination hence this fate of September 20.

At the end of that emotion-laden acceptance, he emphatically declared, No victor, No vanquished in the race for the NFF Presidency. I heaved a sigh of relief but did not clap, rather my heart vibrated and dropped when sad memories quickly enveloped me that is the falsehood and deceitful declaration by General Jack Yakubu Gowon shortly after the civil war which subsequent governments have absolutely abused, sabotaged, discarded and disregarded in all its ramifications till date.

I also linked One Nigeria slogan of General Gowon’s betrayal, disfigured and failed programme as none exists presently sadly over divided and more pronounced ethnic minded leaders jostling throughout our landscape. I digress.

But his associates said Amaju Pinnick is humane and tolerates only hard work. One of them told Daily Sports with a plea that his name remains anonymous. It was further gathered that his stomach turns seeing lazy people around him as his spirit is never at home with such, while another close pal insists that he does not begin what he would not finish hence only those that share in his dream, vision and to implement same to the letter are his closest confidants.

It would be recalled that Daily Sports team earlier said congratulations to the supremo of Nigerian football. Our advice is cleverly stated right from the word go that he must avoid the landmines before, during and after the election that such carefulness and vigilance must continue to be his watchword all this term which Nigerians believe held a lot of goodies for the game in the land.

There may likely be more troubles ahead even than we have seen in the first term and toward its closing chapters. But promptness, responsiveness, openness, carefulness, diligence, focus, all-inclusiveness, vigilance, transparency and accountability if applied strictly would triumph over impending blackmail and witch hunt that would definitely come in future.  So my dear valued readers, let’s anchor on the above.

Heads or tails, the election that ushered him into this tenure was never on a platter of gold. The rough tackles, the scars it left are still fresh and glaring. In as much as this game thrives on the spirit of fair play, one will not lose sight that he who eats or dines with unfamiliar people will learn how to use a long spoon to eat.

This column has not hidden the fact that Amaju Pinnick is a good copy any day. He sells fast as readers fall over themselves jostling to know what is happening around him. He is not a bad news or copy. Let me confess that since this year, Sports Pulse has not sold up to thirty thousand not to talk of thirty something plus as evidence with this history-making man, Amaju Pinnick (just see last week write up centered on the build-up to the recently concluded NFF election), it was noticed that before the election, it stood at 28 thousand plus but shortly after his victory, it shot up to where it is now. The Amaju Pinnick’s wonder if you like. Let’s be honest with you even the breaking news that announced his victory that day sold fast.

This week’s edition is devoted to this administrator extra-ordinary that is roundly misunderstood by many. True, like any other human, Amaju Pinnick has his naughty side. There is no perfection in God’s creatures and so, why his own has been overstressed leaves sour taste in the mouth.

One believes that this his second coming which has never happened in the history of NFA/NFF brings with it monumental achievements that will leave lasting marks on the sands of time as he nurses and pushes further his continental ambition hence on.

As the clock ticks for him and his committee members, there will be no excuse for underperformance. There will be no room for overdose that will spill over to the underperformance of the national teams especially our flagship, Super Eagles.

There will no more ‘we are learning the ropes or terrain.’ The hen is home already to roost and as such we must hit the ground running for gold. Therefore all eyes are on him for optimum outings. It will be Amaju Pinnick unmasked as we go on.

As you read Daily Sports and this column, we promise our watchdog role as always. Ours is that we don’t have a permanent enemy, interests but encourages performance for the good of the game, infrastructural development, players, coaches and other stakeholders that have come to make this round leather object which eleven men chase around for 90 minutes or more sweating. This game that has brightened the whole world and turned it into money-spinning venture; employed many; grows friendship and sundry around the globe with the largest followership must not be quenched by enemies of Nigeria.

While we wish Amaju Pinnick and his team glittering and result oriented tenure for the overall growth of Nigerian football and players, we also pray that the winners should be magnanimous enough to put their eyes on ground to invite those they deemed to have the potential, progressive and kind of vision for the overall good of the sport in the country; not pretenders and saboteurs. 

Numerous and loyal readers, you have made us in Daily Sports proud, let’s discuss further on the social media. As usual, the NFF recently concluded elections which would remain intriguing and fresh for a long time to come because of its history-making value. You know our Twitter handle, we are also on Facebook, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp. Keep shooting hard as you stick strictly to this distinctive, authoritative, reliable, factual all sports portal till next week!! 


Amaju Pinnick – President

Seyi Akinwumi – 1st Vice President

Shehu Dikko – 2nd Vice President

Ibrahim Musa Gusau – Member

Ahmed Yusuf Fresh – Member

Source Daily Sports

Posted September 24, 2018


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