Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State yesterday praised President Muhammadu Buhari for saving the country a huge embarrassment with his good –natured intervention in the unseemly leadership crisis that was foisted on the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
“President Buhari’s intervention was in the very best interest of Nigeria, and those of us who appreciate the power and essence of sport will continue to commend him. He saved Nigeria’s image and saved our country from untoward consequences.
“I insist that Nigeria as a country and those in important positions, as individuals, must make it a duty to constantly promote, project and encourage our own shining stars, our best materials. The President of NFF, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick is a shining star of this country, who has attained a position (1st Vice Presidency of CAF) that no other Nigerian before him has attained. We have a responsibility to project and promote him to reach even higher heights.
“I am saying this not just because Pinnick is a worthy son of Delta State; I am saying this because he is now a global citizen deserving of our encouragement and love. As a nation, we should project our best in every field so that they can reach the zenith of their careers. I am looking forward to Pinnick becoming the President of CAF in a few years.”
Okowa spoke yesterday morning when members of the NFF executive committee paid him a courtesy call at the Government House, Asaba, to appreciate him for his support for Nigerian Football and the positive investment in hosting the African Senior Athletics Championship, starting in Asaba the same day.Governor Okowa affirmed that sport serves the purposes of keeping healthy, winning laurels and making money, adding that a sport–passionate nation like Nigeria deserves a rich assemblage of visionary and dedicated football administrators, as can be seen in the present NFF executive committee led by Pinnick.
Speaking earlier, NFF’s First Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi, and afterwards Pinnick, commended Governor Okowa for his support and encouragement of sport in Delta State. Akinwunmi, also a Member of the CAF Youth Competitions Committee, said other states should emulate Delta in support of sport programmes, as sport encouragement amounts to youth empowerment.
Pinnick, a former Delta FA Chairman and one –time executive chairman of Delta State Sports Commission, praised Governor Okowa’s vision in the construction of the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, while heaping encomiums on other governors who have continued to encourage, support and promote football, nay sports in their different states across the federation.
Also present at the occasion were members of the Delta State Executive Council, as well as NFF executive committee members, Ibrahim Musa Gusau, Sharif Inuwa, Babagana Kalli, Yusuf Ahmed ‘Fresh,’ Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande, Felix Anyansi-Agwu, Chidi Ofo Okenwa, Aisha Falode, Musa Duhu and Mohammed Alkali. There were also Acting Chairman, Delta State Football Association, Edema Fuludu and the secretary, Azuka Ogosi. NFF ‘s Second Vice President, Shehu Dikko and General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi arrived at the end of the meeting as their flight from Abuja was delayed.