Ibrahim Gusau emerged as the 35th President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) following the election held on Friday in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
He was elected 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 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 the same number of vote with Gusau polling 39 votes to win the exercise.
There was a total of 41 votes after the re-run, with 40 valid votes and one vote registered as invalid.
In his reaction, Peterside alleged that some aspirants stormed the venue of the poll with bags of dollars to buy votes.
“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 (EFCC) 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.
Enyimba Chairman, Chief Felix Anyansi-Agu emerged as the NFF 1st Vice President, replacing Seyi Akinwunmi with 23 votes, beating Senator Obinna Ogba who got eight votes.
Gusau, the current Zamfara FA chairman, was an executive member of the NFF board under former president Pinnick.
Pinnick enjoyed the backing of FIFA amid corruption allegations that he denied prior to becoming the first person to win a second consecutive term as NFF boss.
The immediate past NFF boss has said he will now shift his focus to his roles at the Confederation to African football and global body FIFA.
A member of the all-powerful FIFA Council, Pinnick’s attempt at a third term in office was rejected by a support base led by Gusau, prompting the 51-year-old to drop the idea of staying in power beyond 2022.