Prior to the NFF electoral congress on September 30 in Benin City, Edo State, an alleged “hidden relationship” between the current president of the organization, Amaju Pinnick, and the second Vice President of the body, Shehu Dikko, has been a major concern for other contenders in the race.
A total of 13 contestants are in the race to succeed Pinnick. They are the first vice president of the NFF, Seyi Akinwunmi; Chairman of Chairmen, Ibrahim Gusau; former NFF secretary, Musa Amadu; CAF Director, Security, Christian Emeruwa; former Super Eagles goalkeeper and Media Officer, Peterside Idah; former player, Benedict Akwuegbu; former SWAN President and General Manager, Heartland FC, Fan Ndubuoke; former Arsenal Youth Team coach, Anyanwu Marcello; UK-based football scout, David Doherty; former Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup, Mainasara Ilo; former Director, NSC and current Chief of Staff to Sports Minister, Abba Yola; former player, Jonathan Akpoborie and former NFF board member, Amamze Uchegbulam.
The Guardian learnt yesterday that Pinnick has allegedly pitched his tent with Dikko, who was the chairman of the ‘illegal’ League Management Company (LMC), as the candidate to succeed him. The development is said to be unsettling other contestants.
A source hinted yesterday that Pinnick, a FIFA Executive Committee member, is allegedly doing underground work for Dikko to beat other candidates.
According to the source, some top officials in the Ministry of Sports and Youth Development have stepped up in the bid to halt the ‘secret romance’ between Pinnick and Dikko in the build up to the election.
It was not clear yesterday, if the recent declaration by the Federal Government denouncing its recognition of the Dikko-led LMC as the operator of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) was a ploy to weaken the alleged ‘secret romance.’
Pinnick last week told some of the contestants that he has no preferred candidate to succeed him in office. The contestants, who met him in his office, were Akinwunmi, Dikko and Ibrahim Musa Gusau.
Pinnick said that he called for the closed-door meeting to make it known to the contestants that he has no favourite among them.
The Guardian also learnt yesterday that a top official in the sports ministry is working underground for one of the candidates to counter Pinnick’s alleged support for Dikko.