Abuja (AFP) – Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick was on Thursday re-elected for a second-term in office, despite legal and political doubts surrounding the vote.
Unconfirmed reports said Chris Giwa, who has been embroiled in a power struggle with Pinnick, had secured a court order to stop the elections.
Sports Minister Solomon Dalung had cautioned against the vote taking place, citing an earlier Supreme Court judgement which replaced Pinnick with Giwa as NFF president.
The long-running dispute, stemming from Pinnick’s victory over Giwa in 2014, led to world football’s governing body FIFA suspending Nigeria in July.
In Thursday’s vote, in the northern town of Katsina, the 43-year-old Pinnick, who is also the first Vice-President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), gained 34 votes to beat former NFF president Aminu Maigari, who received eight votes.
Former NFF general secretary Taiwo Ogunjobi polled two votes, while there were no votes for amateur club owner Chinedu Okoye.
The majority of the previous executive committee was returned on the promise of continuity.
Nigeria put itself on a collision course with FIFA in July when the government’s sports ministry directed the NFF to comply with the court order to overturn Pinnick’s 2014 election victory and recognise Giwa as its head.
In August, FIFA reversed the ban after the government said Pinnick and his executive committee were recognised as the leadership of football in Nigeria.
FIFA and CAF observers were in Katsina to monitor proceedings, after which Pinnick called for harmony and reforms to heal the rifts in the running of the sport in Nigeria.
“In four years, we’ve gone through rough and turbulent times, sleepless nights,” he said.
“Our coming back… (means) that football is the winner, a total reconciliation of our football. That’s key, that’s cardinal.
“We also need as a matter of urgency to carry out some reforms in terms of our statutes (and) the way forward for everybody.”
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