The dice is cast and the election for who becomes NFF president for the next 4 year holds today bearing any unforeseen circumstances. Here are the profile of the top contenders Amaju Pinnick, Aminu Maigari, Taiwo Ogunjobi and John Okoye are the four candidates vying to lead the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
The election into the NFF’s executive committee for 2018-2022 will be held in Katsina on September 20.
1. Aminu Maigari
Aminu Maigari is not a new name in Nigerian football administration circles, having served as a president of the Nigeria Football Federation between 2010 and 2014 before incumbent Amaju Pinnick took over.
He will now be looking to take the seat back from the former Delta State FA chairman with elections set to be held in Katsina on Thursday.
Maigari will also be going up against current Osun State FA Chairman and former NFF Secretary-General Taiwo Ogunjobi as well as Chinedu Okoye, owner of amateur football outfit Bimo FC.
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Before taking the top job in the Glass House in 2010, Maigari had served as the chairman of the Bauchi State FA, and also headed the Bauchi sub-seat for the 2009 Fifa U-17 World Cup which was hosted by Nigeria, with the Golden Eaglets finishing runners-up after losing to Switzerland in the final in Abuja.
He was most recently appointed into the management board of Nigeria Professional Football League side Wikki Tourists.
Control for the NFF is always an intense political battle with lots of drama and controversy, and Maigari has played his part in this kind of narrative in the past.
His board was impeached twice in the months leading to the 2014 NFF elections, and this led to Fifa suspending Nigeria. However, he was eventually reinstated until the congress of September 30, 2014 brought Pinnick into power.
His participation for this election is said to be in the balance, as he is alleged to have presented credentials that were forged.
Ideally, Maigari would not be running for NFF President due to his past and tainted record.
However, in the world of Nigerian football it can feel as though anything goes, and the quest to gain political power supersedes credibility, accountability and transparency.
Thursday’s election represents another major milestone that will go a long way in impacting the country’s football. Will Maigari be the man holding the key to the Glass House when the dust settles?
Taiwo Ogunjobi is a name that needs no introduction as it rings a bell when it comes to the administration of the round leather game in the country. Well, it won’t be out of place at this juncture to call him the most experienced of the trio battling to become the boss of the NFF.
What are his antecedents? What informed his decision to become the country’s football head? Will his wealth of experience give him an edge over other contenders, and what are his plans for the growth of the beautiful game in the country should he emerge winner come September 30?
“I did not just wake up one day to aspire for this position. There has been a build-up. In all modesty, I would say I did a lot for the country and in the process got prepared for this challenge.” – Ogunjobi.
As a footballer, Ogunjobi was a key member of the WNDC (now Shooting Stars Sports Club), and due to his brilliance on the field of play, he was made captain of the Nigeria Academicals between 1973-74. During that year, he led the country’s football team to win the Nigeria/Ghana Sports festival and his raw talents did not go unnoticed by national team selectors as he got a call up to the Green Eagles in 1973.
Unlike some of his colleagues, who took to coaching after their playing career, he went in to the administration of the game and became the secretary of 3SC a few years after hanging up his boots. He was diligent at work and was soon promoted to the rank of the General Manager of the club before becoming the sole administrator of the Oluyole Warriors.
In 1999, he became president of then-Nigeria Premier League outfit Gabros international, and under his stewardship, the club witnessed a meteoric rise as they became one of the most feared teams in the country, being tagged ‘giant killers’ in the process.
After a brief stint with the Nnewi-based club, he returned as General Manager of Julius Berger, a position he held for two years before attempting a bite at the Nigeria Football Association.
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In 2002, Ogunjobi emerged as the Secretary General of the NFA and, after the expiration of his tenure, he was appointed Chairman of the Technical Committee of the football house. While in charge, the country qualified for all international football competitions at all levels for the first time. Recently, he was the chairman of Prime FC of Ogbomosho
“I remember that I became the Secretary of the NFA after battling it out with 56 candidates. During my time in the glass house, Enyimba won the Caf Champions League for the first time, and our national teams did very well on the international scene. As it concerns international experience, I have it both as a player and as administrator,” Ogunjobi told Goal.
“During that time, we had no issues with the players aas they were paid as at when due and we won lots of laurels. I have gathered enough experience that will make me succeed as NFF President. I have a positive vision for Nigeria football.”
This optimism is plausible, but what are Ogunjobi’s plans for the federation should he take the role?
“To raise the standard of the game of football in Nigeria, I will embark first on reconciliation of all football stake holders to become one big happy family again.
“You would agree with me that for the past four years, it has been from one crisis to the other and I must tell you that what we have now is not what we are looking for. Football is the unifying factor in the country and without that we will keep struggling in other facets of life.”
Even considering these big commendations, the administrator has linked with many controversies. First, he was mentioned in the case of the alleged misappropriation of N1.4bn while serving under sacked President of Nigeria Football Federation, Sani Lulu.
Also, in 2013, former Flying Eagles striker Kayode Olarenwaju accused him of being the obstacle in his bid to secure a move to Europe as he was alleged for signing documents that tied him to ASEC Mimosas of Cote d’Ivoire. This saga earned him a reversed 10-year ban by the NFF from all football activities.
According to Ogunjobi, his mission includes fervent consolidation on the entire youth programme as attention will be shifted to grassroots football development which will see the country parade the best legs in age grade competitions and, not only that, will see them progress to other cadres of the national team.
Under him, the era of Nigeria’s football referees being snubbed by Caf and Fifa will be over, as he will do all it takes to ensure the country’s arbiters are picked for international competition.
“I will return the country to international politics. How many of our match officials are picked for the World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations? That was not the case when I was the Secretary of the Nigeria Football Association as we have referees that can rub shoulders with the best in the world.
“I pledge to be committed to the administration of our football and to the entire football fraternity which is very dear to my heart. If voted in, I will embark on aggressive sponsorship drive and promise to not to let Nigerians down. So help me God!”
Ogunjobi to be, or not to be: that is the question but we can only hope from here that the best candidate wins come September 30, 2014.
As Confucius wrote in The Analects, “He who knows and knows that he knows is a wise man – follow him.” Will that man be Ogunjobi come the end of the month?
3. Chinedu Okoye
The Vice President of Bimo Sports Management Company in Switzerland, Chinedu Okoye has declared his intention to contest for the post of Nigeria Football Federation President.
While speaking with journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, he said he joined the race for the top position in NFF to sanitize the system.
“I have been following Nigeria football for a while now and I know we have a problem in the system. I say it has to stop and that is why I am running”, he declared.
The Chairman of Bimo sporting club – a Nigeria National League club- in Nasarawa State lamented that “there is a lot of corruption in the NFF, sponsorship money which nobody knows about. They collect money from FIFA for development of the game and nobody knows how it is spent.”
He assured that his administration will be transparent to all while also vowing to clean up the mess in the country’s football leagues.
Besides, Okoye who was a referee in the Swiss National league for 10 years, said he will stop bad officiating and match fixing in Nigeria football if elected NFF President.
Also, he promised to tackle the issue of doping in football, adding that he will empower the state football associations to develop football from the grassroots while also bringing technology into the country’s football.
4. Amaju Pinnick:
Amaju Pinnick (born in 1971) is the fifteenth child in a family of nineteen children. Born to a polygamous father, the late Chief Oritsetimeyin Japhet Pinnick, he is the last child from mother’s side.
His father, who passed away when Amaju was 12, worked with the U.A.C in the 30s, where he rose to become one of the company’s pioneer Nigerian managers.
His mother, Madam Rebecca Ayomike, worked as a petty trader to keep alive the dream of educating her children.
During his high school days, he used to be the head of Hussey College debate team.
In 1994, he graduated from the University of Benin where he studied Political Science/Public Administration.
During FIFA sojourn in Nigeria, Pinnick worked in the Technical Study Group (TSG) under Walter Gagg, with the Event Manager, Michael Bakini. As a result he ended up being one of the direct aides to the FIFA President, Mr. Joseph Sepp Blatter.
Pinnick rose through the ranks in Delta State before taking his current position as the Chairman of the DSFA, where he secured his second term in 2012, unopposed during the elections.
He was the Vice Chairman of the DSFA in 2003 and has always remained prominent in the Delta football fraternity ever since.
Under Pinnick, during the 2012 National Sports Festival hosted by Lagos State, the state were named overall champions of the competition with 114 gold, 99 silver and 75 bronze medals. The state displaced Rivers to second spot with 76 gold, 71 silver and 70 bronze medals while third and fourth placed Lagos and Edo States could only boast of 64 and 25 gold medals in that order.
Pinnick is married to a woman who hails from Abia State while he is an Itsekiri man. He is a father to three children.
He is the Chairman of the Delta State Football Association, a position he attained in 2005. He was the 2nd Vice-Chairman of the DSFA in 1999 and later became the 1st Vice-Chairman in 2002.
His romance with the NFF started as being a member of the NFA Marketing & Sponsorship Committee from 2003 to 2006; and being a member of the NFF Appeals Committee from 2010 till date.
He was also a Senior Special Assistant to the Delta State Governor on Foreign Relations from 2005 to 2007.
Before today’s election, he promised “to reduce the level of litigation in the NFF and also provide regular grants to state FAs. One of his plans is to have Nigerian referees officiate at the 2022 World Cup.
Amaju Pinnick, Aminu Maigari, Taiwo Ogunjobi and John Okoye are the four candidates vying to lead the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
The election into the NFF’s executive committee for 2018-2022 will be held in Katsina on September 20.
According to a statement released by Ademola Olajire, media director of the federation, the coast is now clear for contestants vying for various positions.
Delegates comprising 37 football association chairmen, heads of national football leagues, chairmen of coaches and players associations will determine the fate of the contestants.
“Pinnick, 1st vice president of the Delta State Football Association and executive chairman of the Delta State Commission, is the highest –placed Nigerian ever in football’s boardroom globally,” the statement read.
“He has a very useful cordial relationship with world football’s top hierarchy. His Board also holds the ace of a blossoming positive appreciation by Corporate Nigeria that has galvanized considerable private sector funding of NFF’s activities.
“There is also Alhaji Aminu Maigari, immediate past President of NFF, who was for several years Chairman of the Bauchi State Football Association and also headed the Bauchi sub –seat for the FIFA U17 World Cup that Nigeria hosted nine years ago.
“Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi, former Nigeria international defender, also has his hat in the ring. Ogunjobi captained and administered one of Nigeria’s traditional powerhouse clubs, Shooting Stars of Ibadan, served as Secretary General of then Nigeria Football Association (2002-2005) and was Member of the NFF Executive Committee 2006-2010.
“He is presently Chairman of the Osun State Football Association.
“There is also Mr. Chinedu Okoye, proprietor of amateur league club, Bimo FC.
“For the 1st Vice President’s position, there are two candidates. The incumbent, Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi, whose stock has risen steeply as a result of his passion, commitment and investment in youth football development and charity, slugs it out with another South West chieftain, Otunba Sunday Dele-Ajayi.
“Incumbent Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau will battle club proprietor, Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah for the slot of Chairman of Chairmen on the board.”
“For other positions on the Executive Committee, Alhaji Sharif Rabiu Inuwa, a Member of the present Board, is the only candidate from the North West.
“The battle in the North Central has been somewhat narrowed with the withdrawal of FCT FA chairman Musa Talle.
“However, Alhaji Ahmed Yusuf ‘Fresh’ and Honourable Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande, ranking Members of the Board, have to contend with Alhaji Busari Ishola, chairman of Kwara State FA.”
“Similarly, incumbents Babagana Kalli and Musa Duhu from the North East have to contend with Farouk Yarma Adamu.
“In the South East, Hon. Chidi Ofor Okenwa (presently Chairman of the Nigeria National League), will vie with Enyimba FC chairman, Chief Felix Anyansi-Agwu (ranking Member of Board); Barrister Jude Obikwelu (Vice Chairman, Anambra State FA); Sir Emmanuel Ochiagha (Vice Chairman, Imo State FA) and; High Chief Emeka Inyama (former Chairman of the NNL and former Chairman of NFF Marketing and Sponsorship, and also Chairman of NPFL side Abia Warriors).
“From the South West, only Alhaji Ganiyu Majekodunmi, chairman of Ogun State FA, is seeking an Executive Committee member position. From the South South, Oswald Atuake from Cross River State is up against Emmanuel Ibah, chairman of the Akwa Ibom State FA.”