The President, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick’s hopes of returning to the helm of affairs at the Sunday Dankaro house is in jeopardy following the failure of the Super Eagles to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
With emotions boiling over the Eagles’ failure, there were calls by Nigerians from all works of life for the immediate resignation of the NFF board led by Pinnick.
Nigerians believed he failed on his mandate as in the eight years of his presidency at the NFF, the Super Eagles, missed out on the 2015 and 2017 AFCON. They came third in 2019 and got booted at the second round at the 2021 AFCON and the 2022 World Cup which was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Also, for the first time, both male and female teams failed to qualify for the Olympics football event in Tokyo.
While the calls for his resignation getting louder by the day, Pinnick remained defiant and has shown no desire to quit, rather in his capacity, called for the meeting of the NFF Executive Committee on April 5, 2022, in Abuja to deliberate on important issues in Nigeria Football.
According to the communique issued at the end of the meeting, it was disclosed that in line with the statutes, the roadmap for new elections into the NFF Board will be designed at the Annual General Assembly (AGA) of the NFF once the ex parte injunction suspending the Congress from the meeting is vacated.
It can be noted here that the AGA to set the roadmap for the next NFF election cycle was statutorily scheduled to hold on 17th December 2021 in Lagos but an ex parte court order was served on the NFF from a Federal High Court in Bayelsa State to stop the meeting.
The NFF had since January 2022 approached the court to vacate the order and the next sitting is scheduled for 26th April 2022. The committee has now proposed June 2022 for the AGA to statutorily set the roadmap for the NFF elective congress provided the order is vacated accordingly.
Regardless of the court ruling, the hopes of Nigerians to see him out of office after his second tenure elapse this year may have been dashed after it was learnt that approval was given by the Congressmen at a meeting in Benin City on August 8, 2021, for the Executive Committee of the NFF to amend the 2010 NFF Statutes.
That singular move added more to the growing concern within the football fraternity that Pinnick was indeed planning to elongate his tenure beyond 2022.
It will be recalled in 2020, Pinnick categorically stated that he will not seek a third term while revealing that his decision to stand for only two terms was made when he won re-election back in 2018.
“I made my decision even before earning the second mandate on 20th September 2018. I will not be running for the NFF Presidency again. I want to thank the Members of Congress, my colleagues on the Executive Committee, Management and Staff, and stakeholders of the game for their support. I will be stepping off in 2022 to give another person the opportunity to lead Nigeria Football. That is the truth,” he said then.
He again reiterated his earlier position in Cameroon prior to the Nations Cup final saying his family want him more at home after being on and off in the last 8 years.
Meanwhile, former African Footballer of the Year Victor Ikpeba has said sacking Pinnick and the board was not the solution but the board should see out its tenure.
Ikpeba who is also a member of the NFF Technical Committee admitted that the board has failed Nigeria despite the huge support the federation received from the government.
“I think the NFF has failed Nigeria and being a member of the technical committee, I think we have not played our role enough,” Ikpeba said on Monday Night Football Show on SuperSport.
“We cannot sack the board but we just have to wait for the system to take its course. Pinnick can re-contest if he wants to as the delegates have the right to reject him,” he said.
With the elections proposed to hold in June, it is almost certain that the next NFF president will come from the NFF board due the provisions of the NFF constitution.
The possible replacements for Pinnick if he steps down or is successfully pushed out will be Mallam Shehu Diko, Hon. Suleiman Kwande, Yusuf Ahmed, the one popularly called ”Fresh” and Ibrahim Musa Gussau.