The Federal Government on Tuesday endorsed the President of Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Amadu Pinnick, to contest for an elective position in the Confederation of African Football, CAF, election.
Solomon Dalung, Minister of Youth and Sports, said this at an emergency meeting of NFF convened by the minister in his office at the Abuja National Stadium.
Mr. Dalung, while announcing Mr. Pinnick’s endorsement, advised him to vote in the interest of Nigeria.
“The board, after extensive deliberation, reaffirms its earlier decision that Pinnick should contest the executive position in CAF and we collectively wish the president well in his bid.
“On the issue of Nigeria’s position in the CAF election, the board also mandated the president, who is a delegate to the election, to exercise his vote in the interest of Nigeria,” he said.
The meeting was called by the minister to address the controversy which trailed Mr. Pinnick’s ambition and decision.
Mr. Dalung said that Mr. Pinnick’s support for Ahmad Ahmad against the incumbent CAF President, Issa Hayatou, was on personal grounds.
“Pinnick, as a person, has the right to support anybody based on the quality he has seen on that person.
“As a country, we are asking Pinnick to go to CAF and vote in the interest of Nigeria,” he said.
Madagascar’s football boss, Ahmad, is challenging the longest-serving Hayatou for the CAF presidency at the 39th Ordinary General Assembly of CAF, slated for March 16 in Ethiopia.
The Cameroonian Hayatou, 70, who was first elected in 1988, is seeking an eighth consecutive term as head of African football.
Also, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Sports, Obinna Ogba, on Tuesday advised delegates to the CAF election to vote a candidate that will support Nigeria’s agenda.
Mr. Ogba told journalists at the end of an emergency meeting of the Nigeria Football Federation executive, which was convened by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung.
According to him, football politics is a game and I congratulate the man (Ahmad Ahmad), who has the courage to challenge the incumbent (Issa Hayatou).
“It takes a man that has courage to challenge an incumbent, so I congratulate the man, no matter the outcome of the result,” he said.
Speaking on the candidature of Ahmad’s capacity to win the CAF president’s position, Mr. Ogba said “Ahmad win depends on his supporters.”
“Ahmad can win the president of CAF if he plays his game well. And if people that are supporting him are strong enough to win him the position, why not,” he said.
Mr. Ogba said people saddled with the responsibility of representing Nigeria should ensure to negotiate for the country.
He said that Nigeria should vote for a CAF president that would protect the interest of Nigeria and push the country’s football forward.
“We need somebody, who will relate with us and carry the country along. Before voting we should first think of what the incumbent has done for Nigeria.
“Think of the years he (Hayatou) has spent and how long he has carried Nigeria, since he was the acting president of FIFA what did he do?
“We must take all these things into consideration before voting,” he said.
Mr. Ogba said that the NFF should be allowed to make the best decision on whom to support in the forthcoming CAF election.