• ‘Nigeria, Africa deserve to be more visible in World Football’
The Secretary General of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Dr Sanusi Mohammed says the campaign by Amaju Pinnick to be in the FIFA Council should be seen as a Nigerian project.
Pinnick was cleaned on Tuesday by FIFA Review Committee to seek a position for the FIFA Council in the 43rd Ordinary General Assembly of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) billed for Rabat, Morocco on March 12.
If Pinnick wins, he will become the third Nigerian to seat on the FIFA Council after Etubom Oyo Orok Oyo and Dr Amos Adamu, who had represented the continent on the hallowed chambers of world football governing body.
To push the project through in Rabat, the NFF scribe, Mohammed says every sports-loving Nigerian should queue behind Pinnick.
In his message to The Guardian yesterday, Mohammed said: “Now that our own Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick has been cleaned by FIFA to contest election in FIFA Council, I kindly request all to see it beyond him. We should see it as a Nigerian project. Every candidate, I am sure will be supported by his country citizens, thus ours should not be an exception. Please and please let us forget our differences for the sake of Nigeria, and support Mr Pinnick’s candidacy. This is a passionate appeal.”
In November 2020, Pinnick, a former First Vice President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), announced his intention to vie for a seat on the FIFA council watering down speculations he would contest again to be NFF president.
The Chairman of the FIFA Review Committee, Mukul Mudgal, declared the NFF president eligible for the FIFA Council in a letter. “We refer to our correspondence dated 18 November 2020 regarding the subject matter. In this regard, we kindly inform you that the Review Committee has declared you eligible for the position of member of the FIFA Council.”
Meanwhile, Pinnick says his decision to go for the FIFA Council seat is part of his dream to put Nigeria and Africa in visible position in the administration of World Football.
“Since I first got into office as NFF President in 2014, I have always maintained that Nigeria and Africa deserves to be more visible in the administration of World Football, and this is still part of that quest….a major step in seeking a seat at World Football’s governing table,” he said via his Twitter handle shortly after he was cleared.
Pinnick is soliciting for support from both his supporters and critics saying: “The FIFA Review Committee has extremely stringent integrity, eligibility and security checks, and it is the first major step in seeking a seat at World Football’s governing table. With that extremely important test passed, I can continue to push for more representation of the African continent in world football.
“I have been a member of the Executive Committee of CAF, and remain a member, while also becoming a member of the Organizing Committee for FIFA Competitions,” he said.
The Delta State-born sports administrator continues: “The experience I have gathered over time has been truly invaluable and I know I can contribute a lot more to the World game while championing African interests as well.
“I’m hoping to get the support of my friends and critics alike, as I take the next inevitable step, while counting on the massive goodwill I have gotten over the years from the football press and public,” he said.
Pinnick was earlier tipped to join the race to wrestle power from CAF President, Ahmad Ahmad, but he opted for FIFA Council seat instead.