By Victor Okoye
Abuja, Sept. 20, 2018
Gianni Infantino, President of World Football ruling body, FIFA has sent a congratulatory message to Amaju Pinnick on his re-election as the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in the polls conducted by the NFF Electoral Committee in Katsina, Pinnick swept aside three other contestants, polling 34 votes.
The second –placed Aminu Maigari got eight votes, with former international, Taiwo Ogunjobi getting only 2 votes, while there was none for club owner Chinedu Okoye.
In the letter addressed to the NFF and copied to the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Infantino congratulated Pinnick and the other executive members who were elected and wished them the best of luck for the challenges ahead.
“Dear Pinnick, allow me to extend to you my warmest congratulations on your re-election as President of the NFF for the 2018 – 2022 period, at today’s NFF Elective Congress in Katsina State.
“Also convey my congratulations to all your colleagues of the Executive Committee who were elected with you.
“I wish you and your team the best of luck, strength and every success for all the challenges that lie ahead.
“I look forward to continuing to work with you and seeing you soon to congratulate you in person,” Infantino said.
Meanwhile, Pinnick on Thursday, promised to focus more on youth programmes, adding that football was the winner at the end of the polls in Katsina.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the polls was conducted by the NFF Electoral Committee put in place by the NFF Congress at last year’s General Assembly in Jos, Plateau State, on Oct. 19, 2017.
A statement by Ademola Olajire, the NFF’s Director of Communication, said Pinnick pledged to focus even harder on youth development programmes in his second tenure,
Pinnick, who is also the 1st Vice President of the Confederation of African Football, was also quoted as saying that there was no victor and no vanquished in the race as football remained the ultimate winner.
It is said, in his acceptance speech, Pinnick specifically thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha.
Pinnick also thanked the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Chief of Staff to the President, the Director- General, Department of State Services and the Inspector General of Police for their tremendous support for the board.
“We respectfully ask for more support as we start a new tenure, during which we aim to consolidate on our vision of building a sustainable football culture for our dear country, and continue the great march toward ensuring financial independence for the NFF.
“We owe this country a lot, and we are committed to working hard to give back so much to it.
“We intend to set up a reconciliation team in a few days to reach out to aggrieved members of the football family with a view to bringing everyone under one umbrella for the purpose of a united front in the pursuit of the greater good for Nigerian Football,” he said.
The NFF supremo also thanked the Governors of Delta and Edo States for their understanding and support, as well as players and officials of the various National Teams for their efforts at doing Nigeria proud at all times.
A festival atmosphere reigned in the ‘Home of Hospitality’ as the full machinery of government was in motion to watch over the big occasion of the NFF 2018 Elective Congress, alongside the presence of observers from world football –governing body, FIFA and the Confederation of African Football.
At the opening ceremony, Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State poured encomiums on the NFF administration led by Pinnick for its major strides over the past four years,
He noted that trophies won in the FIFA Under 17 World Cup, Women Africa Cup of Nations, the U23 and U20 Africa Cup of Nations, Olympic football bronze and the recent WAFU U17 Cup triumph in Niger Republic.
He praised the aggressive marketing drive of the administration that had galvanized a steady move toward financial independence, while pledging that the Government of Katsina State would continue to invest in football development because of the game’s virtues of youth empowerment and meaningful engagement.
Governor Masari was accompanied to the event by top officials of the Katsina State Government, including the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ahmed El-Marzuq, the Chief Judge of Katsina State, Justice Musa Abubakar, the Commissioner for Sports, Abu Dankun and the Grand Khadi of the state, Hafiz Bakori.
NAN also reports that Pinnick became the first man since Father Dennis Slattery (of blessed memory) in 1957 to be elected back-to-back to one of the hottest seats in world football.
Second –placed Maigari, the immediate past occupier of the office, warmly embraced Pinnick after the vote, saying: “The vote has come and gone, and football is the winner. The focus is football development.
“I bear no grudge and I must say that I am indeed delighted by the strides that Amaju Pinnick has taken since taking over from me four years ago. He is like a son and I am proud of him,” he was quoted as saying.
Incumbent Seyi Akinwunmi was even more emphatic in retaining his seat, bagging 41 of the votes to challenger Sunday Dele-Ajayi’s 2, while one vote was deemed invalid.
In other votes, incumbent Ibrahim Musa Gusau retained his seat as Chairman of Chairmen on the Board, polling 42 of 44 votes, following the withdrawal of Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah on the floor of the election.
Ahmed Yusuf Fresh and Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande retained their seats on the board, after a nerve –jangling contest that went to three rounds.
Chairman of Kwara State Football Association, Busari Ishola was eliminated in the first round after polling only 10 votes, leaving Yusuf and Fresh to vie in the second.
Fresh edged it 22-21, and Ishola was then re-instated to challenge Yahaya-Kwande for the remaining slot from North Central. In the event, Yahaya-Kwande won by 28 votes to 14.
Emmanuel Ibah defeated Oswald Atuake 28 votes to 15 to win the remaining slot from the South South (following Pinnick’s re-election), while Ganiyu Majekodunmi and Sharif Rabiu Inuwa were unopposed for the South -West and North -West slots.
Three candidates slugged it out in the South-East, with Enyimba FC chairman Felix Anyansi-Agwu winning the lone slot available (as Chidi Ofo Okenwa still has a seat as Chairman of the Nigeria National League).
Anyansi-Agwu polled 32 votes, to nearest challenger Emmanuel Ochiagha’s eight.
Jude Obikwelu and Pastor Emeka Inyama, who withdrew from the contest on the floor of the election, still got two votes and one vote respectfully.
FIFA observers Luca Piazza and Solomon Mudege, and CAF observer Sita Sangare witnessed both the opening ceremony and the entire Elective Congress proper.
Chairman of the Electoral Committee, Barrister Muhammed Sani Katu, afterward swore in the new Board.
Next up for Pinnick is his formal inauguration as the 1st Vice President of CAF, at the body’s Extraordinary General Assembly in Egypt on Sept. 30.
NEW NFF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Amaju Pinnick – President
Seyi Akinwnumi – 1st Vice President
Shehu Dikko – 2nd Vice President
Ibrahim Musa Gusau – Member
Ahmed Yusuf Fresh – Member
Felix Anyansi-Agwu – Member
Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande – Member
Babagana Kalli – Member
Sharif Rabiu Inuwa – Member
Chidi Ofo Okenwa – Member
Aisha Falode – Member
Mohammed Alkali – Member
Musa Duhu – Member
Ganiyu Majekodunmi – Member
Emmanuel Ibah – Member
Mohammed Sanusi – Secretary.