Amaju Melvin Pinnick; the Most Celebrated Administrator in Nigeria’s Football History and a Man with Too Much GRACE

July 28 17:56 2021

Love him or hate him, rebuke him or ridicule him, chastise or stone him, history has carefully written his name in gold and for many years to come, when football administration is being discussed on planet earth, one outstanding African will be mentioned. He is Delta state born, Amaju Melvin Pinnick.

In the midst of the criticisms, the hatred, the attacks and the envy, Amaju continued his gradual rise to the pinnacle of world football. Today, he sits with the kings and drinks with lords of the Beautiful game.

This article is not intended to ridicule the achievements of Chief Orok Oyo Orok, the first Nigerian to be elected into the FIFA Council, neither is anyone trying to demean the exploits of Dr Amos Adamu and Patrick Okpomo. These great Nigerians left their footprints in the sands of time and will forever be remembered for the role they played in rebranding and reshaping African football.

As Chairman of Delta state football agency, Amaju did not leave without a legacy. He built an untra-modern state of the art secretariat for the state and used the platform to navigate his path to the Nigeria football federation (NFF).

Nothing came easy, in 2014 in Warri, he weathered the storm of uncertainties and
took advantage of the confusion that arose after an hijacked process on August 26, to emerge NFF president for the very first time, on September 30, 2014.

A year after, he led a crop of Africa football lightweights, to wrestle power away from the stronghold of the heavyweights of Africa football led by Issa Hayatou of Cameroon. Amaju was at the forefront of the tussle and spearheaded the campaign that saw the emergence of Ahmad Ahmad as CAF president in 2015.

He is not an administrator of fate or a coincidental achiever, he has always championed the cause, led the movement and savour the victories.

Those attributes have won him many admirers especially on the continent. Back home, it is a mixture of envy and jealousy from the majority and a dose of appreciation from those who have taken their time to carefully study the profile of this fame fighter. The good thing with Amaju, is that, he sets his eyes on achieving the unthinkable and goes about his ambition fully focused and very determined.

At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Amaju Pinnick became the first Nigerian to commission five FIFA World Cup matches including the semi final tie between France and Belgium. He did that, in his position as Vice President of CAF, another landmark achievement worthy of mention.

After the 2018 World Cup, Amaju leveraged on the goodwill he enjoyed among congress members and executive committee chieftains, majority of whom, he has strategically positioned in FIFA and CAF committees, to seek a second term as president of the Nigeria football federation.

At that time, he was the richest football administrator around and had the full backing of FIFA and CAF going into the election. So it was not a surprise to many that he won in grandstyle, defeating a former NFF president, Aminu Maigari to make a triumphant return to the glasshouse.

This is the first time in the history of Nigeria football, that any individual will be so honored.

As the 2022 NFF election beckons, Amaju is yet to make known his ambition, even as silent waves of rumors spread across the land that he intends to seek a third term. The argument being put forward by these unsponsored campaigners is that, he needs another term in office to effectively cement his place as a FIFA Council member and pave way for more Nigerians to get a berth in FIFA and CAF committees.

Those whose tenure are about to expire and those who are not so favored are quick to condemn this ambition while those hoping that this is their time to enjoy, are desperate to see him return.

Wherever you stand in this calculation doesn’t matter as history had shown that this self acclaimed CHILD OF DESTINY needs no man to get to the very top. Before the FIFA Council election, a 115-paged petition containing various allegations of misappropriation and misapplication of public funds, was submitted by aggrieved Nigerians to the FIFA Ethics committee but this cat with nine lives, came out of a cage set by his own brothers in the South South, as he was cleared by FIFA to contest for the elections. All that followed is now history.

That is the kind of grace that lives in him and when a man walks with such grace, he will easily surmount all obstacles. Stay out of his way if ever he wants to embark on a third missionary journey because stopping him is stopping God’s grace and you know that is never going to be possible.

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