BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
Outside the General Election in Nigeria, the contest for membership of the executive committee of the football ruling body, the Nigeria Football Federation, is perhaps the most politically divisive exercise in the country.
Since 1999 that composition of the football governing body was full democratized, it has never been devoid of rancour. That of 2018 is not promising anything less. There will always be alignments and realignments as the football politicians attempt to outwit one another.
Every election produces new helmsman as political intrigues often play against the sitting chieftain. Observers may have to look back to 38 years ago when a sitting chieftain returned. At the time, Sunday Dankaro in whose honour the unoccupied NFF Secretariat is named just completed a tenure that lasted six years from 1974.
In the period of his tenure, the NFF was dissolved about three times within the six year tenure; he was always returned making him the helmsman with the longest tenure since the body was formed in 1933.
Before him, especially in the era of elections (1933 to 1961), each chieftain reigned for a year as election was annual.
The elections in the early era were sometimes very dramatic. A classical example was that of 1958 which lasted a record three minutes as old officers led by Fr. Dennis Slattery were returned.
That was the last back-to-back tenure in Nigeria football organization. Next week Thursday in Katsina, 24 gladiators will be out for positions in the next administrative cycle of the NFF.
Owing to the principle of national balancing and quota system some candidates may lose out even before the election gets to the positions they are contesting for if some other people from their zone have gotten on board.
Others may out rightly step down for candidates in their zones depending on nature of negotiations.
Baring last minute twist, four candidates including the incumbent, Amaju Pinnick are up for the ‘second most important’ office in the country.
The three other presidential aspirants ate Aminu Maigari, the immediate past president; Taiwo Ogunjobi, a former footballer, General Secretary as well as member of the penultimate board of the NFF and also, Chinedu Okoye, the dark horse of the contesting quartet.
For the position of Fist Vice president is incumbent, Seyi Akinwunmi, a lawyer and also president of the oldest football association in Nigeria – the Lagos Football Association which was founded as Lagos & Districts Amateur Football Association (LDAFA) in 1930 by Henry Augustus Porter, the first President of the then NFA in 1933.
Contesting the position of First Vice President with Akinwunmi is Dele Ajayi, a hitherto member of the current board who later switch allegiance to that of Chris Giwa two months ago. He is the chairman of Ondo State FA.
Incumbent Senior Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi and challenger, Dele Ajayi.
There are two contestants for the position of Chairman of the various 37 states’ FA chairmen including that of the Federal Capital City. Going head-to-head are Ibrahim Gusau of Zamfara State FA and Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, a club owner and Chairman of the Anambra State FA.
From the South East Zone, there are four candidates while the sole candidate for South West for board membership is Ganiyu Majekodunmi, the Ogun State FA chairman.
Also, the North West Zone is having just a candidate, Sharif Inuwa, the Kano State FA Chairman.
South-South has two candidates- Emma Ibah, the Akwa Ibom State FA chairman and Essien Ayi who is the Cross Rivers state FA chairman.
It is not clear if Christopher Green, a recurring name in the board since 2010 will be in the race.
ALL THE KNOWN CONTESTANTS
- Amaju Pinnick
- Aminu Maigari
- Taiwo Ogunjobi
- Chinedu Okoye
VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES
- Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi (Lagos FA Chairman)
- Otunba Dele Ajayi. ( Ondo state FA Chairman)
CHAIRMAN OF CHAIRMEN
- Dr Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah ( Anambra State FA chairman)
- Alh. Ibrahim Gusau (Zamfara State FA chairman)
BOARD MEMBERSHIP CANDIDATES
- Chidi Ofor Okenwa ( Chairman Enugu State FA)
- Anyansi Agwu, chairman Enyimba FC
- Emeka Inyama (Chairman Abia Warriors FC)
- Jude Obikwelu ( Vice Chairman Anambra state FA)
- Mr Emma Ibah ( Akwa Ibom state FA chairman)
- Essien Ayi (Cross Rivers state FA chairman)
- Ganiyu Majekodunmi (Ogun state FA chairman)
- Ahmed Yusuf Fresh ( Niger State FA chairman)
- Yahaya Kwande (Memb. Fed. House of Reps.)
- Mallam Busari Ishola (Kwara State FA Chairman)
- Babagana Kalli (Borno State FA Chairman)
- Farouk Yerma (Gombe State Sports Commissioner)
- Mallam Musa Duhu
22. Sharif Inuwa (Kano state FA Chairman