By; AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos
President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau has provided the Federation’s corporate partners and sponsors with strong assurance that the new NFF administration will put their monies to judicious use in developing the game of football in Nigeria to the benefit of all stakeholders.
At warm and insightful interactions with a number of the partners and sponsors in Lagos on Monday, the NFF supremo, in company with immediate past NFF boss and FIFA Council Member, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi and Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire, expressed heartfelt appreciation to the frontline corporates and appealed for even greater support for the Nigeria game at this time.
Pinnick’s role, described as noble and in the national interest by Gusau, was to formally introduce the new NFF President to the corporate partners, most of them brought on board by the former helmsman.
“For the first time in decent memory in Nigeria Football, we had a rancour-free transition from one Executive team to the other. It is as a result of the deep respect and strong passion for Nigeria Football and the Nigeria nation that we all share. It is for this reason that I have decided to introduce the new helmsman to you in order that you can continue to interact with and support him and the Federation to achieve their vision and mission,” Pinnick said at the office of MTN Nigeria (NFF’s official telecommunications partner), with Chief Executive Officer Carl Toriola, Chief Operating Officer Hassan Jaber, Chief Corporate Services Officer Tobechukwu Okigbo and Chief Marketing Officer Adia Sowho all seated.
In his remarks, Gusau thanked MTN for their strong support to Nigeria Football and Nigeria sports generally: “We appreciate what you have been doing for the game of football and we want you to continue, and even do more so that the new Board can be enabled to work assiduously to lift the Nigeria game to new heights. We apologize for the inability of the Super Eagles to qualify for the FIFA World Cup starting in Qatar next week but we want to use this opportunity to commence the hard work necessary to avoid such mis-step in the future.
“I am assuring you that whatever funds come through you will be put to judicious use as we are presently cutting down on expenses to ascent prudence and manage available resources to achieve the best results.”
Toriola responded that having signed a long-term contract with the football body, his organization would not break same because of a missed World Cup tournament. “We will continue to support the Federation until Nigeria football gets to the level it should be internationally. We must re-energize ourselves for the work at hand. I must commend Mr. Pinnick’s exceptional dynamism and the MTN commits to supporting the new administration.”
The same theme of appreciation and pledges of judicious use of funds and optimization of resources ran through the other meetings, with Executive Vice President of AITEO Group (NFF’s official optimum partner), Mr. Francis Peters pledging his company’s continued support and encouragement to the new Board.
At Premier Lotto, the Managing Director Mr. Adebisi Adebutu said his company will explore even other areas they can support the NFF, in addition to the present partnership agreement. “I must say that we had a wonderful relationship with the Board headed by Mr. Pinnick and we believe we will have same cordial relationship with the new Board.”
Stanbic IBTC (NFF’s official bank) also pledged continued support to the NFF, through Charles Omoera, Chief Executive: “We are particularly interested in the women’s football and youth programs you have enunciated and are ready and willing to commit to these programmes to develop Nigeria’s future legends and icons of the game.”
NFF’s chief marketing consultant, Mr. Mike Itemuagbor lauded the peaceful elections that brought in Gusau, and commended the role being played by Pinnick. “Pinnick has stout corporate drive and high relevance, and I believe he will help the new Board in that area. We will give ample support to the new Board but we want you to beware of the antics of ambush marketers and put stern measures in place to discourage them.
“Pamodzi Sports Marketing will be there for the new Board and will provide advice when necessary, because football is a passion that runs through the blood of every Nigerian and brings all of us together.”
Sanusi added that indeed, without Pamodzi Sports Marketing, things would have been a lot more difficult for a number of NFF administrations over the past two decades.