Barely 24 hours after nine Nigerians holding different offices in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) challenged NFF President, Amaju Pinnick’s decision to pitch his tent with Madagascar’s FA boss, Ahmad Ahmad against Issa Hayatou in the forthcoming CAF polls, the Federal Government, through the Youth and Sports Ministry, yesterday further endorsed the candidature of Pinnick for a seat on the Executive Committee of CAF.
The ‘angry’ nine Nigerians, General Dominic Oneya, Amos Adamu, Amanze Uchegbulam, Sani Lulu Abdullahi, Aminu Maigari, Bolaji Ojo-Oba, Paul Bassey, Aisha Falode and Chris Green had questioned Pinnick’s choice of Ahmad instead of Hayatou, who they claimed, had been a pillar of support and true friend of Nigerian football over the years.
Hayatou, who has ruled African football since 1988, is believed to be using his ‘old friends’ as campaign managers for the CAF elections scheduled for March 16, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
At a meeting convened by Youth and Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung in Abuja yesterday, Pinnick and members of his Executive Committee briefed him, and at the end, Dalung said the Government of Nigeria has given its blessing to Pinnick’s quest and will fully support him.
With regards to the CAF presidential election also coming up at the same Congress in Addis Ababa, the gathering advised, just as the NFF Executive Committee had done in its meeting of Tuesday, 7th February 2017, that the NFF boss should use his discretion to vote for the candidate who will best serve Nigeria’s footballing interest. It was agreed that the interest of Nigeria should be paramount in all calculations.
The meeting also advised other stakeholders in Nigerian Football, who have suggestions/advice/recommendations to tender same through the NFF and not in the media.
The session was attended by all members of the NFF Executive Committee, except Hon. Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande and Mr. Chidi Ofo Okenwa, who forwarded apologies for absence.
The coast is thus clear for Pinnick, vice president of WAFU B, a member of the Organizing Committee for the Africa Cup of Nations and member of the Organizing Committee for FIFA Competitions, to challenge Beninoise Anjorin Moucharafou for a seat in the supreme club for football administration in Africa, at the 39th Ordinary Congress of CAF in Addis Ababa on Thursday, 16th March 2017.
Only two Nigerians – Etubom Oyo Orok Oyo (of blessed memory) and Amos Adamu – have sat on the CAF Executive Committee in the body’s 60 years of existence. An attempt by former NFF President Aminu Maigari to join the club in 2013 ended belly up.