Pinnick (far left) gets his photo op with FIFA boss Infantino and Nigerian President Buhari. It was always part of the plan for his CAF executive seat ambitions
Saturday Dec 10, 2016. 10:45
At a time when Nigeria football is in comatose, president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick has embarked on yet another needless ego trip by his vaulting ambition to be on the executive committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
It was not long ago that Pinnick staged at a reported cost of over 50 million Naira another huge ego trip when he hosted FIFA president Gianni Infantino and 18 federation presidents from across Africa.
We now all know why this grandstanding.
In September 2014, Mr Pinnick was elected president of the NFF under rather very controversial circumstances.
He said he sought to lead the country’s football by attracting corporate Nigeria to a sector that has continued to be financially dependent on the government.
He took immense pride in how he had got several top companies to partner with Delta Football Association while he was chairman.
But halfway through his four-year tenure at the NFF, major sponsors have pulled out, new sponsors have not been signed up, the federation have been crippled by mounting debts and now going cap in hand to government for more funds.
As we speak, eight-time African champions Super Falcons are holed up in an Abuja hotel over pay. Despite assurances and reassurances from the sports minister, the Falcons insist they be paid their entitlements before they will call off this scandalous sit-in protest.
Nigeria’s biggest football brand, the Super Eagles, the Flying Eagles, the Flamingoes, the Falconets as well as an experimental Nigeria U19s have not been spared the desperate financial hardship that has overtaken the NFF.
Most national team coaches have not been paid this year and it needed a special 100 million Naira bailout from the government before the Super Eagles could honour a World Cup qualifier against Zambia.
Yet, he could charter a plane “through private arrangements” at 42 million Naira to fly in and out of Cameroon for the women’s AFCON final the previous weekend.
Also, results under Mr Pinnick have been most disastrous - Nigeria have failed to qualify for the AFCON on two straight occasions and both the Flying Eagles and Golden Eaglets have failed to qualify for their respective AFCONS for the first time in a long time.
It is against this gloomy backdrop that Pinnick now wishes to embark on his selfish quest to sit on the highest decision-making body of African football even against wiser counsel.
And he has gone about this by not carrying along even his most immediate constituency, the NFF executive committee, as his colleague Chris Green has been bold to reveal.
This clearly shows that Mr Pinnick has been managing Nigeria football by his whims and caprices and so the sorry state of the game today.
The NFF congress must now rise above their own selfish interests to vote out Pinnick at the severally postponed Annual General Assembly on December 18 in Lagos.
They were all willing tools in the conspiracy and fraud that brought Pinnick to office two years ago. But they now have a unique opportunity to redress that mistake so that history could still be kind to them.