By Alexander Johnson Adejoh
Amaju Melvin Pinnick, President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has won his election into the FIFA Council, describing it as a victory for Nigerians, Africa and global football.
Fides gathered that the 50-year-old Pinnick last Friday defeated incumbent Walter Nyamilandu of Malawi 43-8 at the 43rd CAF General Assembly in Rabat, Morocco to become the third Nigerian to occupy the position in the 37-member FIFA Council, after Oyo Orok Oyo and Amos Adamu.
Speaking to Newsmen, Pinnick admitted that despite the final ‘landslide’ vote scoreline, his election into the hallowed chamber of world football’s decision making body was no tea-party.
‘It was a very difficult task for me to get elected despite the final vote scores. It was not a tea-party.
‘First, there was a meeting of the Presidential candidates and the theme of the meeting was for everyone to think Africa and what will bring unity to the continent. There were lots of intrigues but at the end of the day, three of the candidates withdrew their candidatures for South African Patrice Motsepe.
‘Then for the FIFA Council seat, only one slot was available for the Anglophone and we were six candidates on the queue for it. And these six candidates were giants in their own rights. I mean Lamin Kaba Bajo from Gambia; Nick Mwendwa who is a certified chartered accountant from Kenya to Incumbent Walter Nyamilandu of Malawi; Zambia’s Andrew Kamanga and Karia from Tanzania. These were no pushovers.
Similarly, the world football governing body boss has congratulated the Nigerian football administrator on his success at the polls.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino who noted that he was optimistic NFF president Amaju Pinnick will make a meaningful contribution to the development of football after his election as a member of the FIFA Council, praised the victory of the NFF boss and looks forward to working with him, as he aims to take football across the world to a greater height.
He said, I would like herewith to reiterate my warmest congratulations to you for your election as Member of the FIFA Council, at the 43 Caf Ordinary and Elective General Assembly, held on Friday in Rabat.
‘I have no doubt that your experience, your knowledge, not to mention your passion, your sense of consensus and your personal qualities, will help you to meet future challenges at the service of the world football community.
‘I am convinced that, as FIFA Council Member, you will make an important contribution to FIFA and, most importantly, to the development of our sport, which unites us all.
‘Sending you my best wishes of luck, courage and success for all the challenges that lie ahead, I look forward, dear Pinnick, to working with you already at the next meeting of the FIFA Council, which will be held by videoconference this Friday, 19 March.”
Fides discovered that Pinnick who along with Egypt’s Hany Abou Rida, Morocco’s Fouzi Lekjaa, Mali’s Mamoutou Toure, Benin’s Mathurin De Chacus and Sierra Leone’s Aisha Johansen will be representing Africa in the highest decision-making organisation of the world football governing body was currently serving his second term in office as president of the Nigeria Football Federation after he was re-elected in 2018.