By Akeem Busari
Since the exits of Sani Lulu and Aminu Maigari as past presidents of Nigeria football federation respectively, the country’s football has been battling against a myriad of self induced problems hinged on self-aggrandizement, blatant blackmailing and mindlessly destructive agitations from several assumed stakeholders in the fortunes of the country’s football.
The current leadership of Nigeria Football Federation led by Melvin Amaju Pinnick has been the worst hit due to barrages of yet unverified accusations of maladministration and corruption charges against his NFF board.
The several court cases that heralded his first tenure as NFF’s President has not abated a bit. However, like the proverbial phoenix, the board trudges on, doggedly, determined and seemingly unperturbed. Wrongfully, many have assumed the confident mien Amaju Pinnick to be arrogant and snobbish.
As a journalist and of course, a stakeholder in the fortunes of Nigerian football, I will admonish concerned football loving Nigerians not to judge a book by its cover. Recent investigations and happenstances in Nigerian football shows that Amaju Pinnick is not a saint and neither is he the devil in Nigerian football.
Who are the devils killing our football? Look no farthest than the armchair critics who sees nothing good in anything. Check the self-appointed watchdogs of Nigerian football and their selfish agengas to destroy whatever they cannot grab.
I won’t attempt to recall the modest strides achieved by this present NFF board. Despite the avalanche of challenges facing this board, particularly, on corruption, Amaju and his team including Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, Mallam Shehu Dikko, Otunba Tade Azeez and others have remained resolute in taking Nigerian football to greater heights.
Yes, don’t ask me about the standard and quality of Nigerian league. Negativity and unpatriotism have become the bane of Nigeria’s football development. Most times, valiant and laudable efforts by the LMC to get the necessary corporate and financial supports for the Nigerian leagues have hit the brickwallls because of the bland, mindless and unnecessary court cases against the NFF and its league body.
Truly, we all are the losers. Nigerian football development, the genuine stakeholders; investors and players. We are quick to lay blames at the footsteps of Nigerian leaders. How much damage did we know we have unwittingly done to our football by our unguarded, unpatriotic remarks and blanket accusations of corruption against the NFF.
Many who knew me personally wouldn’t be surprised by this tirades against the nefarism, mindless wickedness and the pull him down syndrome (PhD), that have become the agelong albatross of Nigerian football administrators in their bids to develop Nigerian football.
Moving forward, Pinnick’s recent move to join the prestigious FIFA Council, is a clear indication that he is desirous of a better and greater Nigerian football. Recalled how he masterminded the appointments of several Nigerians into plum positions during his brief, but eventful stay in CAF.
Amaju Melvin Pinnick’s new move have equally been described by football aficionados and genuinely concerned stakeholders, as a way forward for Nigerian football. This is a Nigerian project.