BY EDMOND ODOK, ABUJA – The Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has congratulated Mr Amaju Pinnick on his Thursday’s re-election as President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
Governor Okowa said he was not surprised over the overwhelming victory of Pinnick at the polls in the northern town of Katsina, Katsina State.
A statement in Asaba by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu, said Pinnick had exhibited great dedication to his job and had made great contribution to the round leather game in Nigeria, Africa and the World.
Governor Okowa stated that Pinnick’s firm belief in revolutionising football administration in Nigeria has paid off in his achievements since he was first elected in 2014 as NFF President.
According to the Governor; “On behalf of the government and people of Delta State, I congratulate you, Mr Amaju Pinnick, an illustrious son of Delta State, on your re-election as NFF President”.
“Your re-election no doubt is a confirmation of the giant strides and contributions you have made in revolutionising football administration globally,” adding, “As a sport–passionate nation, Nigerians are proud of the rich assemblage of visionary and dedicated football administrators in the NFF Executive Committee led by Mr Amaju Pinnick”.
“As a state, we are committed to the improvement of schools sports with special focus on football, hence we have reactivated our Headmasters’ and Principals’ cup competitions with the aim of discovering young talents in football and bearing in mind that Delta State is known for its sporting prowess and achievements”.
“With the completion of the Stephen Keshi Stadium Asaba, we are open to partnerships with the NFF and other sport loving organisations to provide a platform which will give further vent to Nigerian football and empower the youths to great career heights.
“It is our prayer that your re-election will further lead to the growth of football in Nigeria, Africa and beyond,” Governor Okowa said
The 43-year-old Pinnick, who is the first Vice-President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), garnered 34 votes to beat former NFF president, Aminu Maigari, who got eight votes. Former NFF General Secretary, Taiwo Ogunjobi polled two votes, while amateur club owner, Chinedu Okoye received no votes at the polls surrounded by legal and political doubts.
The election also saw majority of the previous executive committee returning on the promise of continuity. World football governing body, FIFA and CAF observers were in Katsina to monitor proceedings.
In his post election speech, Pinnick appealed for harmony and reforms that would heal the rifts that have trailed Nigeria’s football administration over the years.
He said; “In four years, we’ve gone through rough and turbulent times, sleepless nights”, adding; “Our coming back… (means) that football is the winner, a total reconciliation of our football. That’s key, that’s cardinal.”
The re-elected NFF boss stated that the Federation as a matter of urgency must carry out relevant reforms in terms of its statutes to chart the best way forward for all stakeholders and the nation’s football
In July, Nigeria put itself on collision course with FIFA when the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung directed the NFF to comply with the Supreme Court order that reportedly upturned Amaju Pinnick victory in 2014 and recognise Giwa as the head of Nigeria’s soccer body.
However, FIFA backed down on its threat to ban Nigeria after the then Acting President Yemi Osinbajo pronounced government’s recognition of Pinnick and his executive committee as the leadership of football in Nigeria. – With agency reports