Two days to the muchanticipated New Telegraph Award, the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has described the conferment of the Sports Administrator of The Year on him as a pleasant surprise, saying the recognition will encourage him to serve the country with more vigour.

The NFF boss, in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja, expressed gratitude to the management of New Telegraph for recognising the tremendous work the federation is doing to turn around the fortune of Nigerian football.

He said: “I am humbled, I feel I don’t deserve it, because whatever we are doing at the federation is a service to our fatherland, and getting award for such, that’s why I said I don’t deserve it.

“I want to say a big thank you to the management of New Telegraph, for counting me worthy to be a recipient of such an award, they noticed that we are working.” Nigerian football has witnessed tremendous development since Pinnick took over as the President of the NFF in 2014.

The national U-17 team, the Golden Eaglets, won the FIFA U-20 World Cup; the national U-23 team won football bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics and the national women team also won the African Women Cup of Nations in 2015 and 2017.

The NFF, under Pinnick, also produced impressive administrative shrewdness to ensure the Super Eagles seamlessly qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. It is instructive to note that Pinnick, this year, put Nigeria at the centre of global football politics following his pivotal role in the revolution that led to the change of the leadership of the Confederation of African Football. He worked for the removal of erstwhile CAF boss, Issa Hayatou and supported the enthronement of Ahmad Ahmad.

The Warri-born football administrator also became the third Nigerian ever to win a post on the executive committee of the continental football body after defeating more-illustrious opponent from Benin Republic Anjorin Moucharafou, in an election conducted in April 2017.

He was also appointed into the Organising Committee for Competitions of the world football governing body, FIFA. “I will add now that we are still work in progress, nothing is perfect, nothing has ended, we are on a journey and not yet at our destination and I believe that by God’s grace, we are going to get there,” he said. Apart from Pinnick, NFF Executive Committee member, Ahmed Yusuf (Fresh) will also be honoured with the Grassroots Football Development Award.

Two athletes, Aruna Quadri and Oduayo Adekuoroye, will receive awards as the best male and best female sports person respectively. Other prominent Nigerians and corporate organisations to be recognised at the award night slated for November 25, 2017, at The Balmoral Hall, Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, are Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike (Man of The Year); Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal (Governor of The Year); Governor Abdullai Umar Ganduje (Outstanding Governor in Health and Education) and Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State (Outstanding Governor in Infrastructural Development).

The list also includes business mogul and President, Dangote Group, Dr. Aliko Dangote (Businessman of The Year); Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, United Bank for Africa, Kennedy Uzoka (Bank CEO of The Year), and Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Nsima Ekere (Corporate Leadership Award).

Also to be recognised at the event to be chaired by ex-Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, are a former Vice-President, Abubakar Atiku; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara; and television personality and Chairman,Channels Television, John Momoh (Media Icon of The Year, Broadcast). Others are Chief Executive Officer, Media Trust Limited, Kabiru Yusuf (Media Icon of The Year, Print); and Registrar, Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede (Public Servant of The Year).

Also to be recognised are sports and showbiz personalities, including actress, scriptwriter, director and producer, Sola Sobowale (Best Actress of The Year); Richard Mofe-Damijo (Best Actor of The Year). At the corporate level, four companies are also to be recognised for their outstanding contributions to the country’s development in the face of daunting economic challenges. The firms include Zenith Bank Plc. (Bank of The Year), Access Bank Plc. (Most Innovative Bank of The Year), Aiteo (Company of The Year), and Remita (Product of The Year).

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