Tributes pour in for fallen Ogunjobi
Tributes have continued to pour in for former Secretary General of the Nigeria Football Federation, Taiwo Ogunjobi, who died at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, on Monday.
Ogunjobi served as Secretary General of the then Nigeria Football Association between 2002 and 2005, and was a member of the NFF Executive Committee between 2006 and 2010.
He was twice an NFF presidential candidate but lost on both occasions to the incumbent Amaju Pinnick.
He was captain of Ibadan side Shooting Stars, when they reached the final of the then Africa Cup of Champions Clubs in 1984.
A family source said Ogunjobi’s health situation deteriorated Sunday before he finally gave up the ghost in the early hours of Monday.
“I am shocked to hear of Chief Ogunjobi’s death. I saw him last year prior to the NFF elections. He came to personally inform me of his intention to contest the NFF presidential elections. He was a seasoned administrator, who contributed immensely to the development of football in Nigeria, especially in his home state, Osun. I commiserate with his immediate family members, the Osun State Football Association, and other football stakeholders who knew or worked with him,” sports minister, Solomon Dalung, said in a statement signed by his media assistant Nneka Anibeze.
NFF president Amaju Pinnick also paid tribute to the former Green Eagles defender.
“I cannot find the words as much as I try. A very big tree has fallen in Nigerian football and we are all devastated. If the NFF had a flag of its own, it would fly at half-mast for several weeks,” Pinnick stated.
“Chief Ogunjobi was one of the strongest pillars of association football in Nigeria and the entire Nigerian football fraternity will miss him badly. The members of the NFF Executive Committee, management and staff of the NFF, members of the Congress, football stakeholders and other workers in football are in shock.”
Ex-Eagles coach Adegboye Onigbinde expressed shock over Ogunjobi’s demise.
He said, “I heard the news about Ogunjobi’s death, and it’s so unfortunate. I don’t think I can get over the shock in the next three days. I feel so sad right now because we’ve come a long way together. I was the one who brought him to Shooting Stars. May his soul rest in peace.”
Christian Chukwu, former Green Eagles captain and Eagles’ coach, said the country would miss Ogunjobi’s intellectual contributions to the development of Nigerian football.
Shehu Dikko, the LMC chairman, said, “Chief Ogunjobi is one of the heroes of league football in Nigeria having captained IICC, a traditional club in our league system that stands today as an institution. He also rose to the pinnacle of football administration in the country as Secretary General of the NFF.”
Though Ogunjobi died of an undisclosed ailment, his Personal Assistant, Tunde Shamsudeen, said he had complained of body pains last week, and went to the University College Hospital, Ibadan for a check-up.
He said, “We were together in Ilesa (Osun State) on Thursday for Ijesha Golden Warriors’ 50th anniversary. But on Saturday he called and asked me to represent him at the Osun Sports Writers Association of Nigeria awards night, saying he wasn’t feeling too fine. He then went to UCH for a check-up and I learnt he was admitted on bed rest.
“But I was shocked this (Monday) morning when his driver called to tell me that he had died. He was aged 65 and is survived by a wife and five children, three boys and two girls.”