Take A Bow Amaju Melvin Pinnick! You ran the relay and dropped the baton in style

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In all my years as a sports journalist, I have never seen a president that is more influential, more connected and more feared like the present NFF boss, Amaju Melvin Pinnick. 

The Warri born football administrator boasts of an empire that has risen to over 5billion Naira in physical and material assets. He has properties scattered around the globe, he is a member of the very powerful FIFA Council and has a stronghold of the Niger Delta where men and women of influence and affluence bow down for him. 

He is naturally arrogant but you won’t blame him. Grace has catapulted him to an enviable height in the round leather game as he sits with the kings and lords of the beautiful game to decide the fate of world football. 

Back home, he is building a castle that is worth well over 4billion Naira in his home town and walks tall as one of the biggest boys in a society that boasts of icons and champions. 

In the history of Nigeria football, no individual from the North, South, East and West has enjoyed the privilege of being reelected as NFF president for a record second term. Some left after a few months while those that endured to the end, spent more years battling with sickness, court cases or countless blackmails. 

But this man rode on luck and grace to get to the very top. Unfortunately, his achievements on the field turned out a direct opposite of his achievement off it and that left his admirers with no option than to ask for a change. 

In the heat of the struggles and squabbles, he refused to give up. He lost his best friends in battle and made many enemies on the road. He lobbied FIFA for an extension and got none, he lobbied the FA chairmen but they remained resolute and at the end, he surrendered to fate and left when the ovation was loudest. 

In this tribute to a knight of the glasshouse, this writer salutes the doggedness of a true warrior. A fighter who won where others failed, a man who has used his connections to raise champions and install young and vibrant Nigerians into FIFA and CAF committees. 

A man who has fought his way to the very top and will forever be remembered for his gut and determination. 

When he wants it, he gets it. Unfortunately, for the first time in eight years, he didn’t get this one. A third term dream has turned a mirage but beyond the disappointments lies the joy of returning to his comfort zone, his family and his businesses in good health. 

Added to that, he leaves a hero, he has done his best, let those who desperately seek his office come and do theirs. 

Goodbye Amaju Melvin Pinnick, Nigeria football will miss you but we are happier that you left not in sickness or in handcuffs. We wish you the very best ahead.

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