The Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports says the interest of Africa and sub-regional neighbours will determine Nigeria’s position in matters regarding the upcoming Confederation of African Football (CAF) elections.
In a statement on Friday in Abuja, the ministry said Nigeria was going to support what was good for its football only.
Journalists report that the statement was signed by Nneka Ikem-Anibeze, Special Assistant (Media) to Youths and Sports Minister Solomon Dalung.
The statement said the minister was dismayed by press statements and interviews on the issue by some officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) committing Nigeria to supporting a candidate.
Newsmen report that NFF President Amaju Pinnick had been quoted as saying Nigeria was not going to support incumbent CAF President Issa Hayatou.
Pinnick, who is now a candidate for a position on the CAF Executive Committee, had said Nigeria would support Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar for the Presidency.
“The press statements are very personal to the NFF President and do not represent the position of the people and the government of Nigeria.
“Elections into CAF have a long tradition and Nigeria as a major actor has always taken a position that will not only promote unity and international integration but also take into consideration the interest of Africa and and its sub-regional neighbours.
“As it is today, Nigeria has not taken a stand on the candidature of anybody contesting the Presidency and should not be misrepresented by anybody,’’ the statement quoted Dalung as saying.
Dalung was further quoted as saying those aspiring into various CAF positions now are doing so as individuals.
“They are advised not to use the name or image of Nigeria to boost their own political fortunes.
“We will support what is good for football but we will exercise our rights through the laid-down democratic process as guaranteed by the rules of the game.
“We are appealing to all candidates to go about seeking their support free of rancour and acrimony, but they should take the interest of the region into consideration,’’ he said.