The stage is set today for the elective congress of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in Warri. What initially looked uncertain became more apparent as contestants and delegates besieged the oil city of Delta yesterday afternoon through the evening.
As at 7pm, only Shehu Dikko, one of the seven presidential aspirants had not arrived and therefore did not participate in the debate held at the Golden Tulip Hotel.
He, however, sent a message, which he said was dictated to his publicists that he had been held up in the traffic at Lokoja, Kogi State.
Hear him: “I have been held up in Lokoja traffic as I dictate this message at 6:10 pm. Still I hope that the vision I have enunciated on my website offers sufficient insight to my plans to make the game thrive and in full collaboration with all the stakeholders and most especially with all our governments at all levels.”
The debate took off with Taiwo Ogunjobi taking the podium to enunciate his programme. If elected, he will be having a third missionary journey to the NFF offices, having been the general secretary from 2002 to 2005 and executive committee in the 2007 to 2010 regime headed by Sani Lulu Abdulahi.
He disclosed that he is a bridge builder and a good traveller who knows how to travel with the mind.
Next to speak was Dominic Iorfa, who like Ogunjobi was a former footballer of note. Also, he served in the administration headed by Sani Lulu Abdulahi. He disclosed that his mission at the NFF will be to encourage accountability and transparency. He told the crowd about the Dominic Iorfa International Football Academy as a pet project, which illustrates his resourcefulness.
After him, Abba Yola spoke about his achievements at Kano Pillars, which remains a frontline club in Nigeria. He also spoke of his longstanding experience in sports administration generally.
Amaze Uchegbulam, another colleague of Ogunjobi and Iorfa in the NFF board headed by Sani Lulu Abdulahi spoke of the negative effect of taking football matters to civil court, having subscribed to the FIFA Statutes. He also spoke of the need to enhance the financing of the local league and the clubs.
He alluded to his being part of the reforming of the league, with Chief Oyuiki Obaseki when the Premier League debuted in Nigeria.
Amadu Pinnick, the head of football and sports generally, promised to bring dynamism into the NFF if elected today. Of the six candidates at the debate, he and Aba Yola were the only ones never to have served in the NFF board.
He summarized his campaign as a call and desire to serve. He pointed out that even before being elected, he had made ground works that will see corporate bodies marketing the programmes of the NFF.
Mike Umeh, the longest serving football administrator in the country and the outgoing first vice president, pointed at the good results that the outgoing regime achieved and the need for continuity so that he can develop on what the regime had done.
The elections hold today at the Golden Tulip in Warri.