Ex-NPL Boss, Victor Rumson Baribote
By Raphael Ekpang
Following the re-occurring crisis in state football associations in Nigeria, former second vice-president of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Victor Baribote has said that the current President of NFF, Amaju Pinnick’s, stand on state Fas election is against the growth of football in the country.
Speaking against the backdrop of the recent Anambra FA crisis where the NFF has rejected the outcome of its elections which saw Senator Ifeanyi Ubah re-elected as the FA chairman and went ahead to inaugurate a Caretaker Committee to oversee the affairs of the state FA and conduct another election subsequently, Baribote said that Pinnick’s board actions are targeting privately own clubs owners and those who have the game at heart.
In a telephone conversation with Corereporters, Baribote noted that, if at all there are issues in FA elections, there are ways to resolve such, but frowned at Pinnick’s leadership style which makes issues look as if they are personal, adding that Pinnick can only flex muscles with clubs in the southern part of the country.
According to him “people are putting money into the game and you are fighting them, and all these things about FAs election is about the south where he (Pinnick) comes from that is happening. He cannot take it to the north.
“If Amaju Pinnick has personal issues to settle with Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, it is not done using his office to fight him. I think the man deserves some respect. Club owners like Ifeanyi Ubah who provide a platform for you to become the president should be respected. Coming to tell Nigerians that you have control over the FA election is misleading because you have no control over your affiliate. The only control you have is to approve their statute and once you approve it, you do not have any hold,’’ he said.
It would be recalled that, since the emergence of Pinnick as the NFF President in September, 2014 through the Warri congress, there had been a couple of FA elections’ crisis mostly in the southern part of the country starting from Ondo, Rivers, Delta, Osun and now Anambra state.
Besides, there was a case involving a privately owned club, Giwa FC of Jos in 2016 during Pinnick’s first tenure as NFF President. The club was eventually expelled from the NPFL, thereby rendering some youths jobless