Fallout from NFF Uyo AGA: Is Gusau Pinnick Amaju’s Deputy or Secretary?

 

By Bright Uche, Abuja

The President of Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Ibrahim Gusau has received a lot of butts from Nigerians since he resumed office in October . He has been ridiculously called Pinnick Amaju’s lackey for behaving as servile towards the former FA boss.

Speculations were rife that the FA president is a mere arrow in the hands of Amaju which he controls at every opportunity.

Amaju was the first to respond to his friend, Fatimah Samoura, FIFA outgoing Secretary General when she said that the global football ruling body would pay the players’ allowances and bonuses direct to the players during the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand because of the fraudulent practices of the Nigeria Football Federation.

Amaju quickly retorted that there was no way FIFA would pay to the players’ accounts directly, angling that FIFA doesn’t deal with individuals but the FAs. And this unsolicited response as the NFF mouthpiece by Amaju set tongues wagging, leaving many to wonder what Amaju’s interests are at the Glass House several months after he exited office.. What is he trying to protect?

Nigerians’ fear was compounded on Sunday during the NFF 79th Annual General Assembly in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, where the longest paragraph in their 10-point communiqué was devoted to the FIFA Council Member and Executive Committee Member of CAF who merely made an opinionated remark at the AGA.

Paragraph 4 of the AGA communiqué reads: “Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick in a brief remark urged all members of the NFF General Assembly to support the President, Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau in his quest to move Nigeria football forward. He noted that 2023 is a very crucial year for football globally as teams are jostling to qualify for the 2026 World Cup. He called on all to work in unison and support the Super Eagles to secure a ticket to the 2026 FIFA World Cup finals.”

This statement is nothing but a caricature and mockery of the caliber of people at the NFF and communiqué drafting committee. At best, Amaju’s remark could have formed part of the minutes of the AGA and certainly not an aggregate opinion of the over 106 members at the Assembly as celebrated in the communiqué.

The travesty of giving Amaju a whole paragraph in the communiqué eloquently illuminates the irony in Uyo when you discover that Nigeria’s Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh was present at the AGA and made a remarkable contribution which was never highlighted in the communiqué. Enoh stated that given the passion that football generates amongst Nigerians, it is expedient for the game to be handled with utmost professionalism by administrators, with a sense of patriotism for the good of the game in the country.

He made a case for more representation of women at the top level of football administration in Nigeria, stating that the growth of the women’s game calls for more representation of women in meetings such as the general assembly. He enjoined the Federation to engage in constructive deliberations that will positively impact the development of football in the country.

To those who drafted the communiqué and President Gusau who failed to point out the gaffe, the minister’s contribution was a mere noise, not worthy of mention while Amaju’s empty praise-singing was celebrated.

Need we remind ourselves that before Amaju there were great administrators who had bestrode the NFA/NFF with landmark achievements. There were the astute Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima, Sani Lulu, Aminu Maigari, and Dr Amos Adamu who was Sole Administrator of the FA. Dr Adamu historically got Nigeria her first ever World Cup ticket to the USA’94. None of these gentlemen has ever become a leech, bloodsucking parasite, in the affairs of the incumbent FA boss.

Since the 2013 AGA in Lokoja, Kogi State, where Lulu changed from NFA to NFF, never has there been a President like Ibrahim Gusau who always allows his predecessor to steal the show from him. In the past, NFA AGA or Congress used to be a delight for journalists to report. But not anymore!

Why did Gusau not invite Galadima, Lulu and Maigari as ex-FA presidents or Adamu if being a FIFA or CAF member is the criterion? Certainly, not an Amaju that perpetrated huge damage to our football both off and on the pitch with his alleged high level of financial recklessness coupled with the failure to feature at Qatar 2023 World Cup and two Nations Cup in eight years?

What is more! The Communique drafting committee needs to be reminded that it is high time they changed the stereotype template in the NFF communiqué thanking whoever is Nigeria’s President and Sports Minister for releasing money for a competition. This is embarrassing. Must you thank Mr President for doing his job? This smacks sycophancy and it must stop.

If Gusau wants to make a niche for himself, has to move far away from sycophancy and prove that he really prepared himself for the task of running Nigeria football long before his election in Benin, Edo State, last year. He should borrow a leaf from President Bola Tinubu who within 100 days in office showed that he spent over two decades preparing for power and how best to run Nigeria. Let Gusau severe the umbilical cord that has encumbered his growth under the shadow of any predecessor

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