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    Friday, September 30, 2022

    New Leaders Set To Emerge As NFF Congress Begins In Benin

    NFF President Amaju Pinnick

    The 78th Annual General Assembly and elective congress of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) are ongoing in Benin city, the Edo State capital.

    The event was nearly stopped by a court ruling but an Appeal Court on Thursday paved the way for the elections to go ahead as earlier scheduled.

    A new leadership for the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) will emerge today in Benin, venue of the Federation’s electoral congress, which got the go-ahead order from an Abuja Court of Appeal, yesterday.

    The elections, which are part of the Federation’s 78th Yearly General Assembly, will decide who takes over from incumbent NFF President, Amaju Pinnick.

    There were fears on Wednesday that the elections would not hold as scheduled today following an order from the Federal Ministry of Sports telling the candidates to stay away from the polls in deference to a court order halting the process.

    But yesterday, a ruling by the Court of Appeal ordered a stay-of-execution of a recent ex parte injunction secured by some stakeholders to stop the elections.

    Announcing that the elections will go ahead as planned, chairman of the Electoral Committee, Aikhunegbe Anthony Malik, said in statement: “Some few minutes ago, my attention was drawn to an enrolled order of the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, staying the restraining, “parties to maintain the status quo ante” order of the Federal High Court, duly served on the NFF.

    “I have taken it a step further by personally confirming the making and existence of this order. With this development, all legal hurdles militating against the holding of the September 30, 2022 election have been dismantled.

    “Accordingly, I am pleased to announce that the Electoral Committee is now on a strong legal wicket to proceed with the conduct of the election tomorrow, Friday, 30 September, 2022, at the ancient city of Benin, Edo State.

    “I am aware that members of the NFF General Assembly/Congress, including the candidates for the election, who constitute the electorate, have arrived Benin City. I am aware, as well, that representatives of FIFA and CAF, as well as accredited pressmen, election observers/monitors are already on ground Benin. As the chairman of the NFF Electoral Committee, I assure everyone that the Committee will deliver on its mandate of organising a credible, democratic, free and fair election that we all will be exceedingly proud of.”

    And so, it is time to choose a new NFF president from among 10 stakeholders, who are already in Benin for the exercise. 12 other stakeholders are also vying for positions on the Federation’s executive committee.

    Among the candidates for the presidency are the Federation’s incumbent First Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi; Second Vice President, Shehu Dikko; Head of Safety and Security of the Confederation of African Football, Dr. Christian Emeruwa; former NFF secretary general, Musa Amadu; Chairman of Chairmen, Shehu Gusau and current board member, Suleiman Yahaya Kwande.

    Also vying to become Nigeria’s number one football administrator is chairman of FCT Football Association, Mallam Adam Mouktar Mohammed; former Nigeria international goalkeeper, Peterside Idah; former Chairman of Kano Pillars FC and respected technocrat, Alhaji Abba Abdullahi Yola and UK-based David-Buhari Doherty.

    The electoral committee had earlier disqualified former Enyimba, Rangers and Iwuanyanwu Nationale goalkeeper, Paul Yusuf, and Marcellinus Anyanwu from Imo State, while a former NFF First Vice President, Mazi Amanze Uchegbulam, pulled out of the race during the week.

    Three candidates form the South East are vying to become the NFF first vice president. They include, Enyimba Chairman, Felix Anyansi-Agwu, a current board member; another board member, Senator Obinna Ogba; and Chinedu Okoye from Anambra State.

    Current board member, Alhaji Yusuf Ahmed ‘Fresh’ will replace Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau as Chairman of Chairmen, as he was the only one who obtained the form, and has been cleared for, the position. There are also 20 other candidates vying to become members of the board.

    Meanwhile, some members of world football-governing body, FIFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) are in Benin for the elections.

    They are FIFA’s Head of Development Programmes for Africa, Solomon Mudege, and a former Swiss international player, Gelson Fernandes, who is FIFA’s Director for Africa.

    Speaking on arrival in Benin, Mudege said: “We are happy to be here and to witness another milestone in the history of Nigeria Football. We believe it is going to be an interesting Congress with the elections.” According to the programme, winners in the will be sworn in immediately after the elections.

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