A Court of Appeal seating in Abuja on Thursday has given the Nigeria Football Federation the green light to hold its 78th Annual General Assembly and elections of a new Executive Committee to steer the affairs of the nation’s apex football –ruling body for the next four years.
The court ordered a stay-of-execution of an ex parte injunction secured by some fellows a fortnight ago to stop the elections, meaning that the coast is now clear for an interesting contest for the NFF presidency by 10 prominent individuals and dozen other notable persons jostling for seats on the Executive Committee.
Moreover, representatives of the world football-governing body, FIFA arrived in Benin City just before noon on Thursday for the elections 24 hours later.
Solomon Mudege, FIFA’s Head of Development Programmes for Africa and Gelson Fernandes, a former Swiss international player who is FIFA’s Director for Africa were in an excited mood.
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.”
Among the 10 persons jostling to succeed Amaju Melvin Pinnick as Nigeria football’s supremo are former vice president, Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi (1st VP) and Mallam Shehu Dikko (2nd VP), as well as former Executive Committee Member and Chairman of Chairmen, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau and former Executive Committee Member, Hon. Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande.
There is also an immediate past General Secretary, Barr. Musa Amadu, and Head of Safety and Security of the Confederation of African Football, Dr Christian Emeruwa.
Also in the hunt for the exalted post are Chairman of the 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.
A former NFF 1st Vice President, Mazi Amanze Uchegbulam, pulled out of the race during the week.
Mr Paul Yusuf from Plateau State was disqualified as a result of an invalid nomination; the same axe swept Mr Marcellinus Anyanwu from Imo State out of the race.
Three persons, viz current Member of Board, Chief Felix Anyansi-Agwu; current Member of Board, Senator Obinna Ogba and; Mr Chinedu Okoye will battle for the post of 1st Vice President.
Current Member of Board, 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.
Contesting for seats on the Executive Committee from the South East are Pastor Emeka Inyama (Abia State); Mr Chikelue Iloenyosi (Anambra State); Mr Karibe Pascal Ojigwe (Abia State); Mr Jude Benjamin Obikwelu (Anambra State) and; Sir Emmanuel Ochiagha (Imo State).
For North Central are Alhaji Mohammed Alkali (Nasarawa State); Rt. Hon. Margaret Sheen (Benue State); Hon. Idris Abdullahi Musa (Kwara State); Mr Daniel Amokachi (Benue State) and; Mr Benedict Akwuegbu (Plateau State).
Current Member of the Board, Ms Aisha Falode tops the list of candidates from the South-South region, with Chief Kenneth Nwaomucha (Delta State); Mr Gregory Abang (Cross River State); Mr Roland Abu Omomoh (Edo State); Barr. Roubini Ogun (Bayelsa State); Mr Jarret Tenebe (Edo State) and; Rt. Hon. Essien Udofot (Akwa Ibom State) also vying for seats from that zone.
Current Member of Board, Alhaji Ganiyu Majekodunmi leads the list of contestants for seats from the South West, with Otunba Sunday Dele-Ajayi (Ondo State); Mr Ayodeji Ogunjobi (Osun State); Alhaji Olawale Gafar Liameed (Lagos State); Mr Afolabi Taiwo Olugbenga (Osun State); Mr Ayodeji Adegbenro (Ondo State) and Barr. Pelumi Jacob Olajengbesi (Osun State) is also in the race.
North East candidates are current Members of the Board, Alhaji Babagana Kalli (Borno State); Barr. Sajo Mohammed (Adamawa State) and; Mr Timothy Henman Magaji (Taraba State)
Current Member of the Board, Alhaji Sharif Rabiu Inuwa (Kano State) is the only candidate from the North West.
The elections will commence after other items on the agenda for the 78th Annual General Assembly have been dealt with. Winners would be sworn in immediately after the elections.