• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

This opinion is basically out of my feelings as to what could be the reason behind the ex-NFF supremo’s exclusion from the merit list of national honours – could it be that he didn’t merit it at all? Could it be that he was intentionally left out? Read this opinion and share your thoughts. Let it be known that this writer is a strong critic of Mr Amaju Pinnick and this published opinion has no favouritism or wish for favour behind it, just an opinion open for deliberation this

The Labour of Our Heroes Past Shall Never Be In Vain says lines 4 and 5 in the first stanza of the Nigerian national anthem, but honours for heroes past seem to have turned to favouritism, ethnicism and other “ism”, meant for those who are politically, ethnically or religiously connected with the givers of the awards. Therefore, one is tempted to ask: Wither the merit in the National Merit Award?

October 1st of every year ushers in fresh individuals with the National Merit Awards, usually by the Federal Government through the office of the Minister of Interior. It’s a day specially made to recognise the great contributions of citizens of the country both at home and in the diaspora.

The list for this year’s honourees contains individuals from different works of life like politics, Business, Engineering, Medicine, Science, Agriculture, Economics, Security, Education, Sports, Entertainment etc.

Without mincing words, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, a cross-section of opinion believes that he deserves to make the list of honourees for the year 2022 because of his contributions to the round leather game in Nigeria. Some however believe he hasn’t done well for the country’s football beyond the on-the-field results. Let’s look at Amaju’s little contributions to Nigerian football.

Amaju Pinnick didn’t only make it to Confederation of Africa Football’s top level as Vice President, he ascended to the seat of FIFA Supreme Council. This, no doubt is a measure of recognition of Nigeria at the helm of affairs in the international football organisations. This shouldn’t be overlooked by the Federal Government in rewarding one of the illustrious sons of the land.

Under the watch of Amaju Pinnick as the NFF President, the Federation in its bid to revive and give life to distressed ex-players of the national teams set up the machinery to take care of them and attended to their needs. These included Wilson Oruma who lost his fortune but was assisted back to good health and is a great beneficiary of this scheme.

Many would condemn the former Delta State’s FA Chairman’s time in office for not winning laurels with the Super Eagles, but the question is, is the Super Eagles the only team we have? No! For record purposes, here is a quick peep into what the National teams achieved under Amaju’s Pinnick.

In one year and three months into office, Amaju Pinnick could boast of four trophies, including a triumph on the world stage.

The Amaju Pinnick-led NFF board was about two weeks in office when the Super Falcons clinched their 7th African Women Championship (AWC) title in Namibia in 2014.

In 2015, the Flying Eagles defeated Senegal 1-0 to win the 19th CAF U-20 Youth Championship.

The Golden Eaglets, in November 2015 captured the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile, the record sixth in the world. The U-23 Eagles also enjoyed success under Amaju haven won the CAF U-23 Championship in Senegal.

Amaju Pinnick in an interview with Brila FM in 2022 stated that the federation developed a culture of sustainable football and brought fiscal discipline, and financial derivatives, which gave rise to the number of sponsors that they have. From zero, Amaju said they secured various sponsors which contributed 80 % of their funding. In his words, they also gave the best to the National team as the history of the team being stranded, especially the Super Eagles were never so again.

Players were given all the motivations and luxuries to make sure they did well in all competitions. At the 2018 Olympics, the only medal Nigeria won was from football. Today, the only Nigerian face in the FIFA Council is Amaju Pinnick.

If footballers and other athletes who win medals and trophies for the country in international tournaments are recognized, if they can be honoured, what then could have happened to have the Federation’s Presidents neglected, one of which Amaju Pinnick is?

What could have been the sin of Mr Amaju Pinnick that the Ministry of sports failed to list him alongside others that were recognized and honoured in his sector? Could it be that because Amaju failed to bow to Mr Sunday Dare’s pressure, he decided to get back at him on that or we should call it an oversight?

This is a slap on our football, regardless of what hatred we have towards each other, merit should be merit. I believe the Sports Minister stooped too low to have ignored Amaju Pinnick as part of the honoured sportsmen and women in the 2022 National Merit Award, regardless of the differences. It is to Amaju Pinnick today, who knows who falls into this pit tomorrow?

One thought on “Whither The Merit in National Merit Award?”
  1. What’s is state of Nigeria football before he came into power and what is it now. He only achieved personal goals.

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