NFF Election: Board Members Endorse Amaju Pinnicm For Third Term
By Adewale Ajayi
About 6 months ago, NFF president Amaju Melvin Pinnick declared on Channels television that he will not be seeking re-election as president of the Nigeria Football Federation for a third term.
He made this statement on a live programme as speculation became rife that the Delta state born sport administrator might take up the option if his bid to become a FIFA Council member fails.
However, On March 12, 2021, Amaju Pinnick secured a seat into the FIFA Council, the highest decision-making organ in world football following his victory against Malawian FA president Walter Nyamilandu, who was the incumbent, by 43 votes to 8 during the CAF General Assembly held in Rabat, Morocco.
Even as the euphoria that greeted that victory is yet to die down, fresh facts have emerged that the former chairman of Delta state sports commission is already nursing the ambition of returning as NFF president for a third term.
Amaju made history on September 30, 2018, when he defeated former NFF president Aminu Maigari to become the NFF president for a record second term in Katsina state. His second coming generated lots of bad blood within the football family as a few individuals fought relentlessly to ensure they cut short his reign as NFF president.
These individuals even went a step further to petition CAF and FIFA all in their desperate big to put an end to the Amaju dynasty.
But as fate will have it, he has managed to swim out from all the murky waters littered with allegation of misappropriation and misapplication of funds leveled against him at various anti graft agencies across the nation.
Thesame grace, saw him pass the FIFA integrity test in the buildup to the FIFA Council election.
To set the records straight, Amaju has not told anyone of his intention to return for a third term as NFF president and many will want to trust him based on his last promise on Channels television that he has no plans to return as he will want to spend more time with his young family who complain daily, that he hardly makes out time for them.
So, if this fresh plan to get Amaju in, is not coming from him, then where is it coming from?
A South South FA Chairman who intends to creep into the board through the back door is believed to be the chief orchestrator of this latest plan.
Our investigation reveals that this man, who was a former board member under the leadership of Aminu Maigari is doing everything possible to win the heart of Amaju in his desperate bid to fill the vacant slot vacated by the late Emmanuel Ibah who until his death, was chairman of Akwa Ibom state football association and member of NFF executive committee.
The South South campaigner, was the biggest critic of Amaju in the years, months and days leading to the FIFA Council election but with just few days to the event, he came out singing a new song and vowed to be Amaju’s campaign manager.
Unfortunately, he seem to have won souls with this latest plan to return Amaju for a third term as NFF president, as many in the rank and file of the NFF and some board members have started sneezing with their mouth.
The Kite they seem be flying may have landed before takeoff. This is because their reason for this proposal is not considered convincing enough for anyone to fall for it.
According to one of the Vice president’s, the board.must do everything humanly possible to keep Amaju as NFF president as that is one of the conditions for him to retain his FIFA Council seat. He said, that it is clearly stated in the rule book that every member of the FIFA Council must be serving presidents of their national FA.
Well, it is on record that Nigeria’s Amos Adamu rose to the position of FIFA Council member without being president of the NFF. To further nullify this position, this writer went a step further to find out that, there is nowhere in the FIFA statutes where such was mentioned.
It is also on records that the president of CAF Patrice Motsepe, who is also a Vice president of FIFA and member of the FIFA council is not the president of the South African football association. So this gimmick is simply out of place and may not stand the test of time.
Nevertheless, that seem the weapon that will be used to weaken all the FA Chairman as the plotters put together a formidable game plan ahead of the 2022 nations cup in Cameroon.
That is were the deal will be signed, sealed and delivered. Every FA Chairman going to Cameroon will be asked to name his or her price. They will be paid fat bonuses to embark on the trip and will be given princely treatment all through their stay.
As part of this elaborate game plan, all other candidates nursing an ambition have been asked to step aside and support the third term ambition of Amaju Melvin Pinnick. They have been warned of the consequences of disobeying and the benefits of obeying.
One of the benefits for all board members is that, there is an unwritten agreement that all present board members as voted in since 2014 will retain their seats in the board till 2026.
Another key incentive here is that as board members, you are guaranteed your fair share of the post world cup FIFA largesse which has always been one of the major gains of every world cup competition.
Each member of this present board got a whooping 40,000 US Dollars from post Brazil 2014 World Cup and another undisclosed sum, from post Russia 2018 World Cup.
Then, there is the lure to retain their juicy positions in CAF and FIFA, one weapon Amaju has successfully used to weaken the northern block.
Majority of them enjoy the razzmatazz and glitter in the glamour of being called members of CAF and FIFA committees but very few have identified the benefits of being dressed in borrowed robes.
To them, it is fun being called member of FIFA Committees even when it is obvious that in six years they have not made any meaningful contribution that may warrant some applause.
They have been caught in this web and as much as they try to drag themselves out of it, they find out that they are getting more entangled because of lack of information and lack of a desire to explore.