‘Peterside alleged that some NFF presidential aspirants stormed the polling venue with bags of dollars to buy votes’
Ibrahim Gusau has emerged the 35th President of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, following the election held on Friday in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
Gusau was elected as the new president of the NFF at the body’s 78th Elective Congress held at the Edo Heritage Hotel, replacing long-term incumbent Amaju Pinnick.
At the end of the first session of voting, Gusau had 21 votes, which was enough to defeat the outgoing NFF VP Seyi Akinwunmi, who came in second with 12 votes. The second runner-up Shehu Dikko, the other outgoing NFF VP, garnered six votes, while Abba Yola and Idah Peterside both had one vote each.
When it was obvious that a clear winner did not emerge as a result of FIFA rule, which states that the winner must score up to 51% of the total votes cast, a re-run was needed for a winner to emerge.
Delegates at the venue were stunned when NFF outgoing vice presidents Akinwunmi and Dikko stepped down from the re-run race, but former Nigeria, Enyimba and Moroka Swallows keeper Peterside opted to contest the second phase of the poll.
Peterside, who got one vote in the first round, still ended up with a solitary vote, while Gusau polled 39 votes to emerge victorious.
There was a total of 41 votes after the re-run, with 40 valid votes and one vote registered as invalid.
Meanwhile, Peterside alleged that some aspirants stormed the venue of the poll with bags of dollars to buy votes.
Peterside stated, “We did not sleep till 3am (Friday morning) because we were trying to convince people. Some told us they were offered $15,000; $10,000. What gain do I have to lie about this?
“A young man told me that he had $5,000 shared into six places to offer zones who would vote.”
Peterside labelled the election venue a “crime scene”, and called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to intervene.
The EFCC should come here (Benin City) and search rooms of this hotel. This is a crime scene. I have integrity to spend and love for the game. Hoodlums will continue to run our football. How can it improve?
“I will make noise to the roof; how do we hold people responsible for all these issues?”
The 58-year-old Gusau, a civil servant with the Zamfara Ministry of Finance, now takes charge of an organisation that has faced a lot of criticism recently due to the poor domestic league, financial problems and corruption accusations.