Amaju Melvin Pinnick

Embattled President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Melvin Pinnick, has been appointed as 1st Vice President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

CAF’s Secretary General. Amr Fahmy, said yesterday that Pinnick’s appointment followed the resignation of Ghana’s Kwesi Nyantakyi.

“Following the resignation of the 1st Vice President, Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi, CAF President, after consulting with the members of the Emergency Committee, appointed Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick as 1st Vice President.

“The decision is immediately applicable, in accordance with article 27 para. 2 of the Statutes, which will be ratified by the Executive Committee in its session scheduled on the 27 and 28 of September, 2018,” the CAF statement released yesterday in Cairo read in part.

Nyantakyi was president of the Ghana Football Federation (GFA) until he stepped down from the CAF position following an undercover investigation that allegedly indicted him for dropping the name of the Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo in a shady deal.

Before Pinnick’s appointment into the exalted position yesterday, the former Chairman of Delta State Sports Commission was an Executive Committee member of CAF. He was also the President of the CAF Organising Committee that oversees the organization of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Pinnick who by his elevation has become the most powerful figure in football in Nigeria and West Africa is also a member of FIFA’s Organising Committee and has been match commissioner for five matches at the ongoing World Cup here in Russia.

Early this week, the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung had issued a statement directing Pinnick and his NFF board to vacate the Glass House in Abuja stressing that he was merely carrying out the judgment of the Supreme Court of April 27, 2018, which restored the orders of the Federal High Court, setting aside the September 30, 2014, election in Warri that brought him (Pinnick) to office.

A statement issued by the Minister’s Aide, Nneka Ikem Anibeze, said the directive followed a written notification signed for the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, (SAN) requesting the Sports Ministry to ensure compliance.

The Supreme Court Order as interpreted by Malami, ordered Dalung to reinstate Chris Giwa, who purportedly won the parallel election held on August 26, 2014 in Abuja.

FIFA has refused to recognise Giwa as the legally elected president.

Dalung, said Pinnick’s removal was sequel to the relief granted by Justice M. H. Kurya of the Federal High Court Jos, on July 5, 2017 in the suit between Yahaya Adama Vs Alhaji Aminu Maigari , directing that Giwa be given recognition pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice asking that ban of the individuals elected into the board on August 26, 2014, from football activities of the NFF should be declared unconstitutional, null and void.

‘It is trite law that court orders are sacrosanct and any acts of disobedience to it constitutes threat to the rule of law. Consequent upon the above, you are hereby advised to comply with the orders of court made therein which for now, is the valid and binding order of court, in the absence of any other subsisting order or judgment to the contrary,” Dalung said.

The minister consequently directed the parties involved to comply with the court order, saying: “This is a court order and not from Dalung. I will not want to go to Kuje Prison because of disobedience of court orders. Therefore, I hereby comply with the court orders of June 5th 2018, while Mr Amaju Pinnick and others are also directed to comply with same.”

With the momentum now in his favour, after failed attempt to have the September 30, 2014 election overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sports ( CAS) Giwa, barnstormed the NFF “Glass House” with his board members under heavy Police protection during the week before paying a visit to Dalung later in the day.

However, in a swift move Festus Keyamo (SAN), the counsel to the Pinnick, issued a statement to reflect his official position on government directive.

Keyamo, berated Dalung and advised the public to disregard his directive as illegal and of no effect.