A former executive member of the Nigerian Football Federation who was a candidate in Tuesday’s election to elect a new president has accused Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State of bribing voters in favor of the victorious candidate.
Amaju Pinnick, the chairman of the Delta State Football Association and a blood brother of the Delta state first lady, Roli Uduaghan, emerged as the new chairman of the NFF.
Speaking to Sahara Sports, the losing candidate said he first became suspicious when Mr. Uduaghan insisted on hosting the elective congress in his state. He added that it became clear that there was foul play when most of the voters were taken to the Government House only to return after midnight. “One thing you should know about Tuesday’s elections is that, on the surface, it appeared free and fair, but I can categorically tell you that a lot happened behind the scenes,” said the source. He added: “The governor of Delta State aided what transpired so that his boy, Pinnick, would emerge as NFF president.”
The source said all the candidates and voters stayed in the same hotel, alleging that cars came to take most of the others to Government House. He claimed that the voters returned to the hotel well after midnight after collecting inducements of $20,000 each.
He asserted that the NFF’s outgoing president, Aminu Maigari, was aware of Governor Uduaghan’s plan to rig the election for Mr. Pinnick. He said he believed Mr. Maigari was paid off to support the plan. He alleged that the sudden decision by Shehu Dikko to drop out on the day of the election was part of the scheme to rig in Mr. Pinnick. According to him, prior to dropping out of the race, Mr. Dikko was both Mr. Maigari’s candidate as well as the overall front runner.
“Maigari was fully part of Governor Uduaghan’s plan. I strongly believe he collected money from the governor,” said the source. “If not, how could he support Pinnick just like that?” he asked.
In a related development, Dominic Iorfa, a former international player who also contested for the NFF presidency, said he lost in Tuesday’s election in Warri, Delta State because he did not have money to distribute to delegates.
“I want to say without fear of contradiction that people who have money to share to delegates won the elections. I sensed danger, but since my co-contestants chose to keep silent, there was nothing I could do as an individual,” he said. Mr. Iorfa added, “Personally I cannot induce anybody to vote for me in an election. Although I am always very passionate about football, I can’t pay to lead Nigerian football. It was about service that I wanted to render freely. So why should I give money to anyone?”
Meanwhile, another controversy may erupt at the Glass House, the headquarters of the NFF, as both Mr. Pinnick and another factional leader, Chris Giwa, are expected to lay claim to the coveted seat of president.