By Duro Ikhazuagbe
As the Amaju Melvin Pinnick-led executive committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) winds up at the fresh elections scheduled to hold in Katsina on Thursday, there appears to be fresh moves to scuttle the elections through court injunctions.
And if those opposed to the September 20 NFF board elections succeed in scuttling the gathering, Nigeria will not be too far from an immediate ban from FIFA.
Already, THISDAY is in possession of one of the court papers filed by those who are against the elections in Katsina. They are asking the Federal High Court in Jos to stop the election as they purportedly have a non-existing Supreme Court judgment in Chris Giwa’s favour as the duly elected NFF president.
Just last month, the Federal Government gave FIFA the assurance that Nigeria as one of the affiliates of the world football governing body would do everything to abide by its statutes and rules.
Then Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo who was standing in for President Muhammadu Buhari who was on vacation in the UK, pledged to FIFA the government’s unalloyed support for the Pinnick-led board of the NFF as the dully elected NFF board. Osinbajo further assured FIFA that everything would be done to ensure that the board performed its role without any hindrance.
It was on the strength of this that FIFA pulled back on hitting Nigeria with its sledge hammer of suspension from all football matters.
But ahead of the September elections, FIFA has already dispatched a delegation to be on ground to monitor the elections.
Also, CAF has also appointed a delegation that has as chairman, the president of the Burkina Faso FA, to also monitor the Nigerian FA election in Katsina.
As at the weekend, the electoral committee of the NFF released the list of all qualified candidates to contest for various positions.
According to the list of contestants released by the NFF Secretariat, incumbent, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, is seeking a return to the Glass House. He has his immediate predecessor in office, AAminu Maigari to contend with.
Also gunning for the coveted post is a former General Secretary of the NFF, Taiwo Ogunjobi and Chinedu Okoye, proprietor of amateur league club, Bimo FC.
For the position of the first Vice President, two contestants from the same South-west zone, incumbent Seyi Akinwunmi is been challenged by a former member of Pinnick-led board who jumped ship to pitch camp with Giwa, Otunba Sunday Dele-Ajayi.
While Akinwunmi is a lawyer and current chairman of Lagos FA, Dele-Ajayi got deposed as Ondo FA chairman and has lost his goodwill amongst football stakeholders.
For the position of Chairman of Chairmen, it is to be seen how far the power of incumbency can go as incumbent, Ibrahim Musa Gusau will battle money-bag club proprietor, Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah.
The other contestants are seeking positions as board members. They include
Alhaji Sharif Rabiu Inuwa, a member of the present board who 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 Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande, ranking members of the Board, have to contend with 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, Chidi Ofor Okenwa (presently Chairman of the Nigeria National League), will vie with Enyimba FC Chairman, Felix Anyansi-Agwu (ranking member of board); Jude Obikwelu (Vice Chairman, Anambra State FA); Emmanuel Ochiagha (Vice Chairman, Imo State FA) and; 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 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.