Amaju Melvin Pinnick, 45, made history Thursday as he became the first president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to be re-elected for another four-year term in office.
The former Delta State Football Association chairman, who was last July appointed the 1st Vice President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), polled 34 votes out of the available 44 at the NFF Elective Congress, which held at the Kabir Aliyu Maska Conference Hall in Katsina.
By this election, Pinnick is to lead Nigerian football till the 2022 World Cup to be hosted by Qatar.
Pinnick took over the baton from Aminu Maigari on September 30, 2014 in Warri, who was second in the election.
The Bauchi-born farmer turned football administrator could only muster just eight votes from the congressmen and women.
Former General Secretary of the NFF, Taiwo Ogunjobi, scored only two votes.
The fourth candidate who is an amateur club proprietor, Chinedu Okoye, got no vote from the congress.
Also returned to office is the first Vice President of NFF, Seyi Akinwunmi, who defeated Otunba Sunday Dele-Ajayi 41-2. One vote was voided.
Apart from Ganiu Majekodunmi (South-west) who is the only fresh face in the new executive committee, all Pinnick’s men retained their seats.
Oil and gas magnate, Ifeanyi Ubah who is the Chairman of Anambra FA, lost in his bid to unseat incumbent Ibrahim Gusau to become the Chairman of Chairmen in the new board.
Although Ubah pulled out of the race in the last minute when it became apparent that he was not going to succeed in his bid but the Electoral Committee insisted it was late as he had all the time to do so before arriving at the poll. He was roundly beaten 42-2 by Gusau.
In other elections, Ahmed Yusuf Fresh and Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande retained their seats on the board after a nerve-jangling contest that went to three rounds.
Chairman of Kwara State Football Association, Busari Ishola, was eliminated in the first round after polling only 10 votes, leaving Yusuf and Fresh to vie in the second.
Fresh edged it 22-21, and Ishola was then reinstated to challenge Yahaya-Kwande for the remaining slot from North-central.
In the event, Yahaya-Kwande won by 28 votes to 14.
For the South-south ticket to the board, Emmanuel Ibah of Akwa Ibom defeated Oswald Atuake 28 votes to 15 while Majekodunmi and Sharif Rabiu Inuwa were unopposed for the South-west and North-west slots.
Three candidates slugged it out in the South-east, with Enyimba FC Chairman, Felix Anyansi-Agwu, winning the lone slot available (as Chidi Ofo Okenwa still has a seat as Chairman of the Nigeria National League).
Anyansi-Agwu polled 32 votes, to the nearest challenger Emmanuel Ochiagha’s 8.
Jude Obikwelu and Emeka Inyama, who withdrew from the contest on the floor of the election, still got two votes and one vote respectively.
In his acceptance speech, Pinnick specifically thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Chief of Staff to the President, the Director General of the Department of State Service (DSS) and the Inspector General of Police for their tremendous support for the board.
“We respectfully ask for more support as we start a new tenure, during which we aim to consolidate on our vision of building a sustainable football culture for our dear country, and continue the great march towards ensuring financial independence for the NFF.
“We owe this country a lot, and we are committed to working hard to give back so much to it. We intend to set up a reconciliation team in a few days to reach out to aggrieved members of the football family with a view to bringing everyone under one umbrella for the purpose of a united front in the pursuit of the greater good for Nigerian Football.”
Pinnick also thanked the congress for the confidence reposed in the new board, adding: “We owe this country a lot, and we are committed to working hard to give back so much to it.
“We intend to set up a reconciliation team in a few days to reach out to aggrieved members of the football family with a view to bringing everyone under one umbrella for the purpose of a united front in the pursuit of the greater good for Nigerian Football.”
Next up for Pinnick is his formal inauguration as the First Vice President of CAF, at the body’s Extraordinary General Assembly in Egypt on Sunday, September 30.