*Oneya, Lulu, Maigari, Ojo-Oba, Bassey, Falode, Green
With a widely circulated press statement signed by the Nigerian members of Confederation of African Football (CAF) declaring support for the incumbent Cameroonian, Isa Hayatou, it is clear that the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Mr Amaju Pinnick, is on his own, alone and lonely.
Added to the statement of the chairman of NFF media and publicity committee, Hon Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande, in a statement said the NFF Board gave Mr Pinnick the go ahead to support any candidate of his choice.
The Nigerian front is evidently divided. The statement on Sunday, which the Nigerian members of CAF – Brigadier General Dominic Oneya, Dr. Amos Adamu, Alhaji Sani Lulu Abdullahi, Alhaji Aminu Maigari, Chief Amanze Uchegbulam, Dr. Bolaji Ojo-Oba, Aisha Falode, Mr. Paul Bassey and Barrister Chris Green, posited that they were not consulted by Mr Pinnick.
According to them, “Since that publication and the attendant ripples in the African continent, we have consulted widely within the executive of the NFF, the sports ministry and indeed football stakeholders in Nigeria and discovered to our dismay that there is no evidence where Mr Pinnick was mandated to commit this country to supporting Mr Ahmad
With the statement, “we have consulted widely within the executive of the NFF,” that means that Pinnick probably has a handful of his friends within the same board which he erroneously called the Board.
“Mr Pinnick as an individual has a right to declare support for whoever he pleases but when such support is made in the name of Nigeria then there is need for extreme caution given the political colouration of CAF elections of which we are well grounded and versed in.
“CAF Elections are not about individuals. Countries support their candidates, finance such elections, set up various committees led by ministers, diplomats and football people to lobby and canvass across the continent in high level diplomatic sojourns armed with manifesto publications and letters of introduction etc. Regrettably, we cannot claim to have done any of the above, yet the election is less than a month away.
“No Nigerian member of CAF has been consulted nor informed out of courtesy about the ambitions of the NFF President. We do not remember Mr Ahmad visiting Nigeria to solicit or canvass for votes nor do we have any record of Mr Ahmad’s pedigree in the running of football in Africa that would have led Mr Pinnick to dangerously throw all of Nigeria’s eggs in his basket. We stand dangerously threatened.
“The same cannot be said of CAF President Issa Hayatou, FIFA Senior Vice President, who overtime has been a pillar of support and true friend of Nigerian football and whose service to the round leather game cannot be disputed given the giant strides that football in the continent has taken especially in the areas of sponsorship and partnership, and the spread of the game to all nooks and corners of the continent.
“The hosting of the FIFA under-17 Competition, in 2009, the election of Nigerians into the CAF and FIFA Executive Committees, (Etubom Oyo Orok Oyo and Dr. Amos Adamu). The resolution of sensitive issues involving our country at FIFA level advantage Nigeria in 2010 are some of the benefits accruing to us from his reign.
“It is to Hayatou and indeed CAF’s credit that as a continent we have survived the FIFA corruption Tsunami. Dr Hayatou goes into the March Elections as an overwhelming favourite. Even if he was not, it is a political faux pas to indiscreetly react otherwise, in a terrain where the interest of our football (Nigeria) should be paramount over any personal interest and consideration.
“We, Nigerian members of CAF hereby declare our unalloyed support for President Hayatou and his leadership of CAF, one that has brought great development to the game in Africa, including the hosting of the FIFA World Cup on Africa soil for the first time.”
- GENERAL DOMINIC ONEYA, FIFA/CAF Match Commissioner, CAF Security Officer
- DR AMOS ADAMU, Member, CAF Organising Committee for the Total African Cup of Nations.
- MR AMANZE U UCHEGBULAM, Vice President, CAF Board of Appeal
- ALH. SANI LULU ABDULLAHI, Member, CAF Organizing Committee for Management of the Club Licensing System.
- ALH. AMINU MAIGARI, Member, CAF Organizing Committee for the African Nation Championship.
- DR BOLAJI OJOOBA, FIFA/CAF Match Commissioner, Security Officer and Instructor.
- MR PAUL BASSEY, FIFA/CAF General Coordinator, Match Commissioner and Club Licensing Instructor.
- MS AISHA FALODE, Match Commissioner, Member, Media Committee.
- BARRISTER CHRIS GREEN, CAF Match Commissioner