by Deji Adegbenro
After one impeachment, two congresses the same day in the same city at different venues by different sets of delegates, FIFA suspension, another congress, several ‘invitation for questioning’ by the DSS, the elective congress of the Nigeria Football Federation is about to start in Warri Delta State.
This congress will elect the people that will run football in the country until 2018. The position of the President of the Federation is being contested for by seven men; Abba Yola (Chairman Kano Pillars fc), Amanze Uchegbulam ( VP NFF 2006-2010), Amanju Pinick (Chairman, Delta States Sports Council), Dominick Iorfa ( Vice Chairman Lobi Stars Fc), Mike Umeh (VP NFF 2010 -2014), Taiwo Ogunjobi (Chairman Osun State FA) and Shehu Dikko (Director LMC).
A week ago, I would have staked my entire livelihood on Malam Dikko winning the election, he ran a brilliant campaign and was said to be the anointed candidate of outgoing President Aminu Maigari, but a week is a very long time in sports and reports of Shehu Dikko’s hounding by the DSS which was rife in the media seems to have changed the dynamics of the election. Dikko was absent at the Presidential debate yesterday and he is said to have withdrawn from the elections.
The purported withdraw of Dikko has now changed the political permutations as the pendulum is said to be swinging towards Delta FA Chairman Amaju Pinick.
Picnick has done a brilliant job with the Delta State FA and Sports Council, the Delta State FA cup is sponsored (the national Federation cup is not) and the final is always live on Supersports every year, he can also point to the recently commissioned the Delta football house as one of his achievements.
People close to Pinick have described him as very dictatorial and arrogant, those are attributes he will have to drop if he wins the election else he will go the way of Kojo williams.
Whoever wins today will have to build on the success of the Aminu Maigari led board. History will remember the Maigari board for the 2013 AFCON win, and U17 World Cup trophy but they did this to the detriment of the local football, the fact that they couldn’t secure a title sponsor for the Federation cup (the only competition they organize) throughout their tenure is a major indictment on the board.
Whoever wins today will have to pay attention to the domestic league, bring back the glamour to the Federation cup(i don’t like that name, Challenge cup is better), youth development and capacity building is also key.
Whoever wins today must give our football a new direction, a change from the norm and returns us to the part of glory we once towed.