Dapo Sotuminu, Ibadan
The late former Secretary General of the Nigeria Football Federation, Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi, began his final journey yesterday March 13, 2019 at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan where a symposium was held in his honour by the Western Nigeria Football Federation, a body made up of the six football associations in the western part of Nigeria ; Lagos, Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, Ogun and Osun States.
The symposium which was the brain work of the First Vice president of the Nigeria Football Federation and Lagos FA chairman, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, was held at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba with close associates of the late Taiwo Ogunjobi in football having the opportunity to speak about his activities when he was alive.
After a welcome address by the Secretary General of the NFF, Dr. Muhammed Sanusi, the speakers ;- Chief Amanze Uchegbulam, a former board member of the NFF, Dr. Bolaji Ojo Oba, a former Secretary general of the NFF, Alhaji Shehu Gasau, a board member and the Chairman of Chairmen of the NFF and Mr. Ade Somefun, a veteran sports journalist took their turn to speak about the life and tines of Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi.
Uchegbulam, spoke about his closeness and affinity with the late ogunjobi in football administration in Nigeria revealing how hard the former sole administrator of Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan, conscientiously served the country’s football federation.
He also spoke about their activities at the Kuje prison when they were arrested for a suspected embezzlement of missing money of the country’s football. He said despite their incarceration at the Kuje prison, Ogunjobi joined forces with him, Sani Lulu and Ojo Oba to form a mini football team, which enabled them to play football during their days in the prison.
He noted that, for 10 years when they were accused of what they never committed, Taiwo Ogunjobi was resolute and focused on the development of football in the country.
He revealed that, he ensured he answered the prayers of Chief Ogunjobi at the last NFF presidential elections in Katsina, by casting his vote for his very good friend who had appealed that, he should not be abandoned at the election.
Dr. Bolaji Ojo-Oba, expressed his disappointment on the activities of the six western football association, who he claimed abandoned Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi, the two times he aspired to become the president of the NFF.
He asked them not to shed crocodile tears for the departed football technocrat, who begged for their support but never got it in Warri an Katsina during his two attempts to become the president of the NFF.
Alhaji Shehu Gasau, in his comments on Ogunjobi. Revealed his closeness with the former Secretary General of the NFF, and pointed out that, it was Ogunjobi who asked him to take up the responsibility of becoming the next Chairman of Chairmen after him, who was undoubtedly the first Chairman of Chairmen in the history of Nigeria football.
He spoke of Ogunjobi’s determination to become the president of the NFF, an aspiration that brought him on a surprised visit to his home in Gasau without notice just to solicit for support.
Ade Somefun spoke about Ogunjobi’s closeness to the members of the media and his unending desires to help sports journalists who ever came his way.
The WNFF Symposium ended 6.30pm with large number of football stakeholders in attendance, some of which were the chairmen and secretaries of the six football associations in the south west, former national team stars, top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation and sports journalists from far and near.
The symposium was preceded by the candle light procession held at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan. The procession was led by the chief host, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, supported by Chief Amanze Uchegbulam, Dr Muhammed Sanusi, Chidi Offor Okenwa, Shehu Gasau, Bolaji Ojo Oba, Chief Adegboye Onigbinde, Mutiu Adepoju, Ike Shorunmu, Dimeji Lawal, Godwin Enarkhena and Dotun Coker among other sympathizers.
On Thursday, March 14, 2019, there will series of novelty friendly football matches in honour of Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan. This will be capped by a service of songs at his residence in Ibadan. He will be buried on Friday, March 15, 2019 in a private cemetery in Ibadan with only family members present.