NIGERIAN Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick coasted to victory in recent elections into the Fifa executive council beating Malawian football association president Walter Nyamilandu by 43 votes to eight in a landslide win.
At the Confederation of African Football (Caf) summit which held in Rabat, Morocco yesterday, Mr Pinnick became the third Nigerian elected into the Fifa council after Oyo Orok Oyo (1980-1988) and Amos Adamu (2006-2010). He is now one of the six African leaders that will represent the continent on the Fifa executive council.
Mr Pinnick will be joined by Egypt’s Hany Abou Rida, Morocco’s Fouzi Lekjaa, Mali’s Mamoutou Toure, Benin Republic’s Mathurin De Chacus and Sierra Leone’s Aisha Johansen. His election received the full backing of the Nigerian government, with the permanent secretary in the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, Nebolisa Anako even issuing a statement supporting his candidacy.
Mr Anako said: “On behalf of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari and all Nigerians, we hereby pledge our unflinching support to Mr Pinnick because his victory would be our collective victory. Sports minister Mr Sunday Dare believes Amaju can use his position and connections in Caf and Fifa to help promote and develop Nigeria and African football in all ramifications.
Mr Pinnick, 50, was re-elected as the NFF boss in 2018 and he is currently serving his second term after being initially elected in 2014. He had previously served as Caf vice-president between September 2018 and July 2019, before he was removed and succeeded by Constant Omari.
In addition to his role as a member of Caf executive committee, the Delta-born administrator is also a member of the organising committee for Fifa competitions. Mr Pinnick started his football administration sojourn as the chairman of the Delta State Sports Commission in 2010 before his appointment as chairman of Delta State Football Association a year later.
Delta State’s Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, has already congratulated Mr Pinnick. He also commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports for their support.
Governor Okowa said: “On behalf of the government and people of Delta, I congratulate our illustrious son, Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick, the president of the Nigerian Football Federation, on his election as member of the Fifa Executive Council. As Deltans, we are proud of your outstanding accomplishments in football administration in Nigeria and Africa.
“Having risen through the ranks as chairman of Delta State Football Association and later chairman, Delta State Sports Commission in 2010, you have by dint of dedication and hardwork contributed immensely to football administration in Delta and Nigeria. As you deservedly celebrate this victory, I urge you to use your experience and wide connections in Caf and Fifa to help promote and develop Nigeria and Africa’s football to compete with the European nations.”