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Ministry’s ‘attitude’ worries stakeholders as Presidency lobbies support for Pinnick

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[FILES] Pinnick (right) with FIFA President Gianni Infantino

Primate Ayodele organises special prayer
• Cote d’Ivoire dangles €15.3m on Anouma’s campaign

The Presidency may have spread its influence to some African countries in lobbying support for the President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, who is vying for a seat in the FIFA Council.

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Pinnick is aiming to become the third Nigerian after Sir Oyo Orok Oyo and Dr. Amos Adamu to become a FIFA Council member in an election slated for March 12 in Rabat, Morocco.

The Guardian learnt yesterday that some top government officials working in the Presidency have written letters to some African countries to lobby support for Pinnick’s bid. Sources say the move was triggered by the alleged ‘slow attitude’ by the sports ministry towards the realisation of Pinnick’s FIFA Council goal.

A source, who pleaded anonymity, accused top officials of the sports ministry of treating Pinnick’s FIFA Council election bid with kid gloves. “They are pretending to support Pinnick, but in the real sense, the sports ministry is not doing anything compared to the efforts made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s campaign to become Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), as well as the election of Dr. Akinwumi Adesina as President of the African Development Bank.

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“One thing I want the sports ministry and Nigerians to know is that our country will benefit more from global football if we support Pinnick’s campaign for the FIFA Council seat. This slow attitude by the sports ministry is not the best way, but I am happy the Presidency is moving very fast. Pinnick is a successful businessman and that is working well for him,” the source said.

No official of the sports ministry was ready to speak when The Guardian raised the issue yesterday.

The Guardian recalls that the government of Cote d’Ivoire has stepped up its financial support for Jacques Anouma’s bid to become the next President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF). Cote d’Ivoire recently pledged a staggering €15.3 million for Anouma’s campaign.

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The money approved by Cote d’Ivoire president Alassane Ouattara is designed to outsmart the challenge of one of the other main Francophone challengers, Senegal’s Augustin Senghor.

MEANWHILE, the Founder of Inri Spiritual Evangelical Church, Primate Babatunde Ayodele is organising a special prayer session in support of Pinnick’s bid for the FIFA Council seat. Primate Ayodele said he was happy with Pinnick’s achievements in the past seven years, adding that Nigerians need to join him in prayers for the NFF boss in respect of the election.

Ayodele said he strongly believed in the leadership of Pinnick, saying he has brought credibility to Nigerian football.

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