Amaju Pinnick – Between NFF Presidency And Ceremonial FIFA Post
“Amaju (Pinnick) will die if he is no longer NFF President” – Top NFF Official
As expected, there was a lot of fanfare, backslappings and congratulatory messages from friends and enemies when in March Amaju Pinnick was elected into the “powerful” FIFA Council (mind you there are 37 persons on this expanded board).
He thus became only the third Nigerian after Oyo Orok Oyo and Amos Adamu to attain this position in world football.
Pinnick’s next self-promotion pursuit is to return for a third term as President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) even in the face of the weighty criminal allegations of monumental corruption leveled against him and his cohorts.
And this is not to forget that in his seven years as head of Nigeria Football, the country’s No 1 sport has lost far more than it has won so much so that the NPFL has become a laughing stock and age-grade national teams no longer enjoy top reckoning on the continent.
So, why does Amaju Pinnick seek to again subject Nigeria Football to another four years of hardship, collapse and total regression when after all he is now on first-name basis with FIFA President Gianni Infantino and CAF boss Patrice Motsepe?
In the last few weeks, “Chief Sycophant” of Infantino has played out a well-designed script so as to be re-elected come September 2022.
He first came up with the Aisha Buhari Cup, which rather unfortunately for him ended up being a series of mere friendlies among six women’s national teams after his pay masters FIFA ironically ruled it cannot be played as a mini-tournament.
This tournament was to warm his way into the heart of the First Family for his many sins to be forgiven and forgotten.
The Aisha Buhari Cup was also the excuse he needed to bring down his buddy Infantino and Motsepe, who has shown to be a lap dog of the powers that be in Zurich.
It was also no coincidence that this was about the same time that he will present new sponsorship deals for the NFF – Air Peace, MTN and Baba Ijebu.
Such was the excitement that got over him that he will boast that the often cash-strapped NFF will soon be 100% independent of funding by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Pinnick has moved mountains, men and whatever to so far stay clear of prosecution for the litany of corruption allegations that have been made against him.
Can he continue to do so if he were no longer NFF President armed with a big budget and some goodwill and not as an individual, who now has to take orders from Zurich?
Will the man who will succeed him as NFF President be ready to allow “sleeping dogs to be” and so not expose the graveyard of atrocities perpetrated by his predecessors?
Also, Pinnick’s fears are genuine that a new NFF President may not endorse his candidature for another four-year term on the FIFA Council once the current mandate runs out.
The spotlight, locally and internationally, and self-promotion that Pinnick has enjoyed in the last seven years cannot be so when he only has to make do with his ceremonial FIFA Council portfolio.
He will just disappear into nothingness and revert to the marine business that he claims to be his main pre-occupation.
For the quintessential showman that he is, such a thought is dead on arrival.
That was why he had to prostrate right before a fellow NFF Executive Committee Member so as to be returned for a second term in September 2018.
As NFF President, he has been known to macro and micro-manage the federation – nothing can happen without his approval – even if he only makes the occasional visits to the head office in Abuja.
As an ordinary, almost faceless FIFA Council Member, Pinnick will now have to pick up his own bills and not saddle that responsibility on the NFF, like payment of his presidential suite at the five-star Hilton Hotel, which goes for 500,000 Naira a night.
Those private jets gallivanting across the world and the photo ops will not make the front pages by Pinnick the FIFA Council chief.
When Pinnick ceases to be NFF President, you can be rest assured that it will no longer be business as usual in Nigeria Football.
Then those so-called friends and loyalists, who fell under the spell and control of Amaju, will finally know they have the balls to stand up to him and call him out for who he really is.
Until then, the country’s national sport continues to wallow under this egoistic, power-drunk and money-grabbing self-promoter.
Warri no dey carry last…