•Exclusive Details Of The 4 Day Event
On Friday 15 March, 2019, Ibadan, experienced a great influx of football superstars and administrators in Nigeria. It was the final burial of a late icon in the sector, former international defender, former Secretary General of then NFA and one-time Member of the Board of NFF, Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi. Not only did the program attract the who is who in the sector, but was also indeed a deserved burial for a fallen hero of Nigerian football; it was a colourful event. In fact, some of the prominent personalities that graced the burial proceedings spent two, three days in Ibadan. The 4-day burial program, organised by the deceased’s family with full support of Oyo State government through Ministry of Youth & Sports, was full of different activities. The burial rites took off on Tuesday 12 March, 2019, in Osogbo, the capital city of Osun State, where he served as Chairman of the state’s Football Association until his death, with some youth football matches and tributes. Before the train moved down to Ibadan.
On Wednesday, the Western Nigeria Football Forum, headed by the First Vice President of NFF, Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi, and for which Ogunjobi was a key actor, galvanizer and advisor, held a symposium in honour of the deceased with the theme: ‘Celebrating the Life and Times of Ogunjobi.’ The symposium took place inside one of the halls at Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan.
At the symposium were the Chairman of the Western Nigeria Football Forum and NFF First Vice President Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi; NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi; NFF’s zonal coordinators led by the Chairman of Chairmen, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau; former NFF President, Gen. Dominic Oneya (rtd); former NFF First Vice President, Mazi Amanze Uchegbulam; former NFF General Secretaries Dr. Bolaji Ojo-Oba and Ambassador Fanny Amun; two–time Head Coach of the Senior National Team, Chief Adegboye Onigbinde; President-General of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu Oladipo; former international players, Dr. Felix Owolabi and Mutiu Adepoju and senior stakeholders of the game from far and near, including Mr Ade Somefun.
By Thursday, the burial program was taken to a higher level; there was a football match between a team of Ambassadors and Family United By Sports at the Lekan Salami Stadium. The match ended 2-1 in favour of the former. There was also a ceremonial match between all football stars from Lagos-Ibadan and Ex-Shooting Stars-Ex-Eagle, where Dimeji Lawal; Dele Adeleke; Femi Opabunmi; Samson Siasia; Friday Ekpo; Augustine Eguavoen and many others all played together. In the evening, there was lying-in-state and service of songs coordinated by Pastor Femi Emmanuel’s Living Spring Church. During which prominent stakeholders, including Board Members of the NFF, NFF Management, NFF Staff, current and past bigwigs in the game, former international players and administrators bid Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi farewell.
The deceased was interred at a private vault (it was exclusively close family affair) on Friday 15 March, 2019, after a funeral service at Living Spring Church, Aduloju Bus/Stop, along Ojoo Road, Ibadan. An elaborate and glamorous reception qnd entertainment of guests followed immediately after, at Deylan Event Centre, along Eleyele/Ijokodo Road, Ibadan, where all to eat and drinks were made available and guests enjoyed excellent performance of the Tugba/Gospel maetro, Dr Yinka Ayefele.
Some of the diginitaries also present at the event include Alhaji Raheem Olatunji; Director of Organisation of Oyo State Ministry of Youth/Sports, Mrs. Adegoke; Chief Amos Adamu; Chief Segun Odegbami; Dr. R.O Ladipo; President of the Nigeria Football Federation and First Vice President of the Confederation of African Football, Amaju Pinnick; Former President, Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Sanni Lulu Abdullahi and so many others who are too numerous to be mentioned.
Recall that Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi, popularly known as ‘Skippo’ in his lifetime, died on 12th February, 2019, at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, after a brief illness. He was aged 66.
His contributions to the development of the country’s football can’t be forgotten.
According to his profile on the web, Ogunjobi was born in Ilesa in 1953. His twin brother, also called Taiwo, was a National Champion in the 400 metres huddles and died in the 1992 Nigerian Air Force C-130 crash. He attended African Church Grammar School and Ibadan Grammar School, whose games master at the time was late former Governor of Oyo State, Alhaji Lamidi Onaolapo Adesina (Lam). He took fours years out of his football career to study in the United States, taking Textile Engineering at Clemson University in South Carolina, through an athletic scholarship. During his football career, he played for the Nigerian academicals team; he was made captain during 1973–74 and led the side that beat the Ghanaian academicals that season. He joined Shooting Stars, then known as WNDC Ibadan, in 1973. He left Shooting Stars in 1975 to study in the United States, but returned in 1980 and was appointed captain. A centre back, he regularly partnered Ogbein Fawole. He led the club to the final of the 1984 African Cup of Champions Clubs. He retired in 1986. He also represented the Nigerian National team, making his debut against Morocco in a qualification match for the 1984 Olympics.
After his retirement, Ogunjobi became Deputy Director at the Ministry of Information in Oyo State. From there, he was seconded to Shooting Stars. He became the club’s Secretary and was later promoted to General Manager. During his tenure, he oversaw their victory in the 1992 CAF Cup. In 1994, he was named as the club’s Sole Administrator, overseeing their victories in the National League and Federal Cup in 1995. He was appointed President of Gabros International in 1999 and later moved to Julius Berger, where he served as General Manager for 2 years.
Ogunjobi served as Secretary-General of the Nigeria Football Association between 2002 and 2005. He went on to hold the post of Chairman of the NFF Technical Committee, and served on the Executive Committee between 2006 and 2010. He also worked as a member of NFF delegations at FIFA competitions between 2002 and 2010, and officiated as match commissioner for two qualification matches for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
In 2012, he was one of the four NFF officials that were arrested amid accusations that money had gone missing after the 2010 World Cup, and in 2013, he was issued with a ban from football-related activities for 10 years after allegedly preventing the transfer of Olanrewaju Kayode. He was cleared after both incidents. He served as chairman of Prime United and oversaw their transition into Osun United, before he resigned in 2017. After a previous attempt in 2014, in September 2018 he lost a second challenge to become NFF President. He was serving as Chairman of the Osun State Football Association at the time of his death.