BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
It is two days to the 2018 NFF Elective Congress in Katsina. Four candidates are lined out for the topmost position, the presidency. Among them is the incumbent, Amaju Pinnick who is seeking to rewrite history as the first back-to-back head of the football body in 61years after that of Father Slattery in 1957/58 in the then NFA.
Also seeking a comeback is Aminu Maigari, the helmsman from 2010 to 2014. Former General Secretary and later board member as Chairman of Chairmen, is Taiwo Ogunjobi who is also a former footballer.
The last candidate is a relatively unknown Chinedu Okoye, the only club owner among the quartet. He is the proprietor of the amateur league club, Bimo FC in Nasarawa State.
If neither Amaju Pinnick nor Aminu Maigari wins, the Nigerian football governing body will be having its 36th leader since its foundation in 1933.
Across the ages, www.sportsvillagesquare.com reports that five people have had more than a tenure in the past.
Godfrey Kio Amachree, a federal solicitor general who succeeded Derby Allen in 1960 became the first Nigeria, to head the first football body. He also became the first helmsman to return to the seat after he was appointed the NFA chairman from 1967 to 1971.
Godfrey Kio Amachree, first former boss to make a return to office
Though he was the first Nigerian to head the NFA, he was not the first African. Before Amachree, there was Pius Kwashie Anthony (MBE) who succeeded Andrew Gillespie Marshall, a former international player for Scotland.
First African to head Nigerian FA was a Ghanaian
Anthony, who died in Lagos, aged 69 on October 4, 1980 on the eve of the 34th Challenge Cup final, was a Ghana-born and former footballer.
Pius Anthony, formerly, Pius Quist, the Ghanaian first African Chairman of Nigeria Football Association.
He became the first African to lead the NFA. Twenty-seven years of active football, followed by another seven in the fold of the NFA organisers, put him in top contention for the chairmanship when he was elected in February 1955.
Born in the then Gold Coast (Ghana) from where he came to Lagos in 1919, Pius Anthony, who until the 1940s was Pius Quist, was a goal merchant for Young Africs and later Hawley Lamp.
He was then known as Quist ‘Agba’ (Senior Quist) because he played alongside with his younger brother Alex Quist. It was common to make reference to the Quist brothers as the first pair of relations to play together for the Lagos team. Pius played with Alex in a 5-1 win over Calabar in 1931.
His connection with Nigerian football began in 1920, a year after his arrival in the country. He joined the “Never Miss” club which survived for only four years. He was an active player till 1948 when he sustained injuries in a car crash. He veered into administration and by 1955 became the chairman of NFA, LDAFA and the Players Welfare Association (PWA). He was a recipient of the MBE (Member of British Empire).
The next chairman to make a return to the headship of Nigerian football body is Edwin Kentebe. He was chairman from 1971 to 1973, even though at the time, there were acting chairmen when he went overseas for training courses as a naval officer. He was reappointed as chairman of the NFA from 1982 to 1984.
Oldest head of Nigerian football body
Another person that returned to the seat after a tenure was Justice Chuba Ikpeazu. He was first appointed as chairman from 1965 to 1967.
Justice Chuba Ikpeazu
In 1988, aged 74, Chuba Ikpeazu, then a retired judge, pioneer founder of private clubs, became the oldest chairman of the NFA. He was the third after Amachree and Kentebe to lead the NFA twice. The new board was made up of six of those who served in John Obakpolor’s regime that was dissolved.
They included Henry Olalere, Mike Umeh, Alhaji Yusuf Ali, Bisi Lawrence who became the second vice chairman and Grema Mohammed, the third vice chairman who had survived four past regimes.
Anthony Ikazoboh was appointed the NFA Chairman in succession to Kentebe on the eve of the 1984 Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire. He was in office till 1987 before being removed. He became the fourth man to return to office after being reappointed in 1989, a position he held briefly before becoming a sports minister.
Effiom Okon, a secretary of the NFA in 1959 was appointed an interim chairman of the NFA in 1989. In 1991 he was reappointed and held the position till the following year before being removed.
He had been the last person to make a comeback to the seat.
Aminu Maigari will be the first to stage a comeback in 27 years. In the case of Amaju Pinnick, he will up the ante, not just as coming back; he will be the first back-to-back head in 61 years.