By Kunle Adedoyin
Amaju Pinnick, President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has been removed as the 1st Vice President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and replaced by Congolese Omari Constant.
Mauritania FA boss, Fouzi Lekjaa and South Africa’s Danny Jordaan are now the 2nd and 3rd vice presidents of the continent’s football governing body respectively.
Pinnick,who replaced former Ghana FA boss, Kwesi Nyantakyi, as CAF’s 1st Vice President in June 2018, following a FIFA ban to Nyantakyi, over a corruption case, was reported kicked out after his loyalty to Ahmad Ahmad, the Madagascan CAF President became doubtful.
The decision to remove the Delta-born football administrator was reportedly taken at the CAF Executive Committee meeting in Cairo on Thursday, on the eve of the Final match of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Reports say CAF president Ahmad Ahmad, who replaced longest-serving Issa Hayatou in 2017, no longer have trust Pinnick, who played a key role in the ouster of Cameroonian Hayatou.
According to reports, relationship between Pinnick and Ahmad had been frosty since the Nigerian became the vice president, which led to allegations that Pinnick was planning to kick out Ahmad as CAF President, so he could take over.
Another source also claimed that Pinnick did not back Ahmad on the decision by FIFA to appoint Fatma Samoura as Africa delegate to help conduct a forensic audit on the running of the continental body.
It was also alleged that the NFF President went after Ahmad after Mouad Hajji, Acting General Secretary of CAF, responded to Nigeria’s Special Presidential Investigative Panel’s correspondence on the clarification NFF payment of $500,000 to the continent’s body in 2015.
“Pinnick brought this on himself because of his arrogance,” the source said to TheCable.
“He felt he could get Ahmad out of the way for him to be installed as the CAF. His personal ambition blind-sided him, forgetting that he attained the 1st Vice President position on Kwesi’s ban from FIFA.
“He was not elected but selected because the president thought he could be trusted and that he could help in steering African football forward.
“But Ahmad could not continue with such a person as his 1st Vice President.”
But a statement by Ademola Olajire, NFF’s media director, said Pinnick’s tenure as the 1st vice president of CAF was not extended at the 32nd Executive Congress held at Marriot Hotel, Cairo on Thursday, due to “fundamental differences on focus and direction.”
“The term of the President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick as the 1st Vice President of the Confederation of African Football along with that of the 2nd and 3rd Vice Presidents expired today,” the statement read.
“In line with Article 22(4) of the CAF Statutes, every two years when elections are held at the CAF Congress (as took place on Thursday), the CAF Executive Committee on the proposal of the CAF president, elects a 1st, 2nd and 3rd vice president respectively from among its members.
“Significantly, the renewal of Pinnick’s tenure was not proposed by the CAF president because of fundamental differences on focus and direction.
“It has however been an excellent opportunity to serve as the number two football administrator in the entire African continent and my commitment to the game is perpetual while my support for my colleagues in the Executive Committee remains steadfast.”
Pinnick was quoted to have said his commitment to the game is perpetual.
“It has however been an excellent opportunity to serve as the number two football administrator in the entire African continent and my commitment to the game is perpetual while my support for my colleagues in the Executive Committee remains steadfast.
“I congratulate, Omari, Lekja and Danny on the assumption of their new roles as 1st, 2nd and 3rd Vice CAF Presidents respectively.”