By Teddy Nwanunobi
Abuja (Sundiata Post) — President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Melvin Amaju Pinnick, on Thursday, beat his Benin Republic counterpart, Moucharafou Anjorin, by 32 to 17 votes to win a seat into the Confederation of African Football (CAF)’s Executive Committee at CAF elections that held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Earlier, the 29-year reign of Cameroonian Issa Hayatou was sent to the dustbin of history, following his defeat to the Madagascar FA Chief, Ahmad Ahmad, by 20 to 34 votes.
Hayatou was Africa’s long-serving President since 1988, and was seeking an eighth term.
Ahmad being lifted up by supporters, after his victory
Victories of both Pinnick and Ahmad were regarded as defeats of incumbents, as both Hayatou and Anjorin were hitherto occupants of the seats.
Pinnick’s victory also means that Nigeria is making a return to the highest organ in CAF, since the exit of Amos Adamu.
Pinnick (Western Africa Zone B) joins Musa Bility (Liberia and Western Africa Zone A) Faozi Lekjaa (Morocco and Northern African Zone) and Danny Jordaan (South Africa and Southern African zone) as members elected into the CAF Executive Committee.
Sundiata Post reports that Pinnick’s victory would be seen as a destiny that cannot be changed.
Unlike other Nigerian contestants, who vied for the CAF seat in the past, Pinnick did not get a dime from the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, the Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has congratulated the newly-elected President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Ahmad Ahmad on his victory at the polls.
Saraki, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, described Ahmad as a consummate technocrat, who can help to usher in a new era of innovation and positive change into the affairs of CAF.
He commended the outgoing President of CAF, Issa Hayatou, for his services and immense contribution to the development of football in Africa in his 29-year headship of the body.
“Ahmad’s victory is a testament to his message and determination to positively alter the 29-year status quo in CAF,” Saraki said, “Hayatou has served the organization well, now, we look forward to the new leadership to usher in a new era of change and effectiveness to raise the standard of African football across all levels,” Saraki said.
Saraki also urged all Football Associations (FA) across the continent to rally round the new CAF President to enable him deliver on his electioneering promises, for the good of African football.
“This is a new beginning and we cannot afford to make the mistakes of the past. African football has been yearning for a new direction and now that this opportunity to inject fresh blood into the management of the continental body has been realized, it is time for all stakeholders to roll up their sleeves and support the new executive to extend the frontiers and fortunes of African Football at the global level,” Saraki added.