Youth and Sports Development Minister, Hon. Sunday Dare on Thursday mourned the “painful demise” of Member of the NFF Executive Committee and Chairman of the Nigeria National League, Hon. Chidi Ofo Okenwa. Okenwa, who was also Chairman of the Enugu State Football Association, died on Tuesday morning at his home in Enugu after battling leukemia for some months.
“On behalf of the Government and sports-loving Nigerians, we express deepest condolences and sympathize with the family of the late football administrator of rare qualities. Our prayers and feelings are with his immediate family, the Enugu FA, the football family and all sports lovers in the country,” Dare said in the statement signed by the permanent secretary in the ministry, Mr. Gabriel Aduda.
On his part, Chairman of the NFF Technical and Development Committee, Alhaji Yusuf Ahmed Fresh lamented that he was yet to get over the demise of the charismatic Okenwa, who was his deputy in the committee.
“We lost a very active member, a friend of the football family, a technocrat of the highest order, who not only knew the laws of the game but rose stoically to defend the Statutes at all times, calling the attention of the Board and the Congress to the Statutes to defend his assertions when necessary.
“We lost a good man and I lost a friend and confidant,” Fresh said.
Former Commissioner for Youth and Sports in Oyo State, Barrister Yomi Oke said: “With a heavy heart, I commiserate with you and the football community on the passing of Chidi Ofo Okenwa. He was passionate about football particularly the development of Nigeria football, was very committed and dedicated. He was a brother, friend and administrator. May the Almighty grant his family and friends the fortitude to bear the loss.”
The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), in a message signed by its president, Mr. Honour Sirawoo, revealed that the late administrator was a true friend who identified with the body and attended its programmes.
“As a member of the Executive Committee of NFF, Okenwa was a stabilizer who at all times promoted peace. He was an incubator of ideas which perhaps saw his enviable rise in football administration. The NFF President, Amaju Pinnick was apt when he described his late colleague as ‘brilliant, humble, eloquent and one man that was full of ideas’. We condole with his immediate family and assure them that the association will continue to identify with them despite the passing of their patriarch.”