Amid unabating speculation that Nigeria Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick is actively considering contesting for the presidency of the Confederation of African Football, Pinnick has admitted that “it’s very possible” he would run for CAF’s top job but says any decision to contest hinges on getting the buy-in of his family and larger network.
The NFF supremo has never hidden his ambition to become CAF president and long been widely tipped to enter the ring when presidential elections come up next March.
That could mean taking on incumbent and former ally Ahmad Ahmad who many believe will contest again even though he dispelled rumours about a reelection bid in April.
Ahmad’s emergence as president in 2017 owed a lot to a broad continent-wide coalition spearheaded by Pinnick which ended the hegemonic decades-long rule of Cameroonian Issa Hayatou.
The relationship between both men saw Pinnick appointed the Confederation’s 1st Vice President in place of former Ghana FA boss Kwesi Nyantaki who was busted in a sting operation and is currently serving a life ban from all football activities.
But amid internal wranglings, and with CAF enmeshed in an avalanche of corruption scandals, Ahmad who had grown to distrust his erstwhile ally declined to renew the Nigerian’s tenure on its expiration in 2019.
And with Ahmad’s tenure expiring in less than a year’s time, Pinnick says he is receptive to replacing the man he helped install.
“It’s very possible, [that I will contest for the CAF presidency],” he revealed in a chat with Lagos-based station Lagos Talks.
While stressing he has no intentions of continuing as NFF president beyond his second term, Pinnick acknowledged his CAF ambitions will require Divine intervention, the full support of his family and the backing of his “constituency” to come to fruition.
“I’m a very, very prayerfully adventurous human being, that you should know. And once you bring in prayer to get God to be on your side, because if God is for you, nobody can go against you.
“But just that you need to consult your constituency; you need to talk to your wife. So, if my wife says yeah, I should, because to me I was thinking of retiring from football after my tenure which I said clearly, if you like put twenty guns to my head there is no way I’m going for a third term, even though I am eligible. Now, I want to retire to my various businesses that I do.
“Now, you wonder, when your wife says it, then you call your team together, and you talk to them. After talking to your team if they say yes, you go to your larger family, you talk to them, then you go to your immediate football family, they give you endorsement, they say yes, then you go to government, to friends, so you have to consult extensively.
After playing a leading role in the emergence of Ahmad, Pinnick understands the broad partnerships needed across the continent to actualise his dreams and disclosed that he is already consulting with colleagues and there’s a possibility that the outcome could see him drop his ambitions in support of a more viable candidate if need be.
‘I might decide to support someone else, because a couple of us are talking, most of my colleagues, we are talking very quietly, we have a mission, and we are very focused.
“So, at the end of the day they might decide to say that someone else should go. I’m not very desperate, so they might decide that okay the person should go, but if it’s okay Pinnick should go, why not? But like I said we need to take all this into cognizance.”