•Pinnick desperate to stop Ifeanyi Ubah, divides northern bloc
•‘Minister must stop anomalies in federation
Although it is still about two years to the next elections into the Executive Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), animosity among the political gladiators is reaching feverish level as the current boss of the NFF, Mr. Amaju Pinnick, has anointed second Vice-President Shehu Dikko as his successor. Pinnick has ruled himself out of the race as he insisted he would not be seeking a third term even though the NFF Statutes permit him to do.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) Executive Committee member’s decision to endorse and work for the emergence of Dikko has pitched him against some influential figures within the football circles. Our correspondent reliably gathered that the decision to install the Chairman of the League Management Company (LMC) has been viewed by football pundits within the NFF Congress and Executive Committee as a unilateral one taken by Pinnick and a gross injustice to other members who are also the seat. Saturday Telegraph learnt that club owner and Technical Committee Chairman, Ahmed Yusuf Fresh and Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, are also nursing the ambition of becoming the NFF boss, a development that fuelled the renewed battle between the oil mogul and the NFF hierarchy.
A source told our correspondent the brouhaha regarding the elections into Anambra, Delta and Taraba States FAs was as a result of the ploy to wield out members of Congress who could jeopardize the their 2020 plans A source, who is a top staff of the NFF, told our correspondent that: “Two years is not a long time in politics and I can tell you that some of the current crisis in football is associated with the next election. “Pinnick is keen on installing Dikko as his successor and this decision has caused a lot of animosity among members of the Congress.
“If you notice, the two top guns have been working more closely than anyone in the federation; you can also observe that Dikko, in the last two years, has been more involved with the operations of the NFF than the Nigeroa Profes-sional Football Leage that he heads.
“All of these are pointing to the fact that he is being groomed for the plum job since Pinnick is not contesting. “There have been some individuals who have also shown interest and some of them are Fresh and Ubah. The plan is to edge these people out of the Congress, since no one outside of the congress can contest for the NFF presidency.”
Pinnick and Ubah were political allies but there have been no love lost between the duo since the oil mogul has shown interest in seeking higher position in football fraternity to the disgust of Pinnick whom he supported to become member of CAF board. Ex-international and football activist Harrison Jalla said it was wrong to deprive Nigerians outside the Congress from seeking position on the NFF board in the first place and if that draconian clauses are not expunged, it would deepen the crisis in Nigerian football.
“A situation where chairmen of the 36 states Football Association including the Federal Capital Territory will sit inside one hall usually called a congress and elect one of their colleagues as president of the NFF is no longer acceptable,” Jalla, who is the president of National Association of Nigerian Footballers, said.
He added: “The solution to the NFF 2022 election is to return to the NFA ACT 2004 the governing instrument of Nigeria Football as today, to expand the congress to its original 101 members, and rejig the composition of the NFF board to accommodate at least four members of the players constituency.
“It is also to ensure relevant constituencies are accommodated in a pyramid structure down to the states’ Football Association boards.” Jalla said no state Football Association chairman should double as NFF executive member, insisting that they must remain in their states to develop football.
The former player said the crisis that will arise from the next election could become intense and urged the Minister of Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare, to nip it in the bud by intervening in the process ahead of the polls. “The minister must come out of his shell, discard his “Siddon look” attitude towards the affairs of the NFF and ensure necessary reforms now. The envisaged crisis from the upcoming 2022 NFF elections including protracted litigations should better be managed now by the minister,” he said.