Three days after he passed on after a battle with leukemia, members of the board of Nigeria Football Federation and other prominent figures in the Nigeria football firmament are yet to come to terms with the demise of Member of NFF Board and Chairman of the Nigeria National League, Hon. Chidi Ofo Okenwa.
Chairman of Chairmen of Nigeria football and Member, NFF Executive Committee, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau said on Friday that he was still lost for words: “I am still to recover from the shock. That Chidi Okenwa is dead? I knew he was sick and at the last board meeting we held via video conferencing, I noticed it and I told him after the meeting that he should return to hospital. We are all shocked that the meeting turned out to be his last with the board. Very sad.”
Another member of the NFF Executive, Babagana Kalli said: “It is very, very sad. Chidi was a very honest and energetic person. He was a good friend and committed soldier of Nigeria football. He was friendly to everyone. We can only pray to God to grant his soul eternal rest.”
Mr. Emmanuel Ibah, another member of the NFF Executive, said: “I am still devastated. We were very close and it is still difficult for me to come to terms with his death. I am grieving intensely.”
Further to his earlier comments on Wednesday, former NFF 1st Vice President and Chairman of Imo State Football Association, Mazi Amanze Uchegbulam, added: “I am yet to recover from the news of his death. Chidi Okenwa was so well grounded in association football rules. Since 2005, he hooked with me and no week passed without Chidi engaging me with association football rules for clarification and understanding. He was most enthusiastic. It was the same way I also hooked up to the late Pa John Ojidoh in 1994 to know about our Statutes. Chidi learnt very fast and I have always been proud of him. ”
President of the Nigeria Referees Association, Otunba Tade Azeez, said: “It is not easily believable that Chidi is dead. We will surely miss him. He was never afraid of standing up to challenges. He had that rare gusto to confront challenges and deal with them.”
Chief Operating Officer of the League Management Company, Alhaji Salihu Abubakar, said: “I am still in mourning. Chidi was a reservoir of knowledge and could reel out the Statutes, rules and other football conventions with ease. His death is a great loss to Nigeria football.”