Delta State governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa has heaped praises on President Muhammadu Buhari for his intervention in the crisis rocking Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), as he believes the move saved the country from huge global embarrassment.
Governor Okowa said what he described as President Buhari’s good-natured intervention helped douse raging fire in the prolonged leadership crisis that has stunted NFF activities, and could have caused a ban by world soccer body, FIFA.
Okowa said as much Wednesday morning in Asaba, when Members of the NFF executive committee paid him a courtesy call at Government House to appreciate him for his efforts in support of Nigerian football.
The governor affirmed that sports serve the purposes of keeping human beings healthy, as well as winning laurels and making money.
He added that a sport passionate nation like Nigeria deserves visionary and dedicated football administrators, as he said can be seen in the present NFF executive committee led by Pinnick.
Okowa stressed: “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 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.”
Speaking earlier, NFF first vice-president, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi commended Governor Okowa for his support and encouragement of football and sports in general.
Akinwunmi, who is also a member of CAF Youth Competitions Committee, also said other states in Nigeria should emulate Okowa’s efforts in support of sports programmes, which he said amounts to youth empowerment.
On his part, Pinnick, a former Delta State Football Association chairman and ex-chairman of Delta State Sports Commission, praised Governor Okowa’s vision in the construction of Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.
While also heaping encomiums on other governors, who continue to encourage, support and promote football in their various states across the federation, Pinnick said the symbol in The Big Heart Of Nigeria has been outstanding.
Also present at the occasion were members of 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 Delta State Football Association acting chairman, Edema Fuludu and the secretary, Azuka Ogosi, while NFF second vice-president, Shehu Dikko and secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi arrived at the end, as their flight from Abuja was delayed.