The Ministry of Youths and Sports, the Nigeria Football Federation, the Lagos State Government and other stakeholders in sports have mourned the death of former Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission Deji Tinubu, who died on Thursday.
Tinubu, who was recently appointed as the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, slumped while playing a five-a-side match with fellow participants at the retreat of members of the State Executive Council and Permanent Secretaries at the Jubilee Chalets, Epe.
Medical personnel rushed to give him first aid and he was immediately taken to the General Hospital, Epe, where he was confirmed dead.
Sports minister Solomon Dalung described Tinubu’s death as too shocking and sudden to be true.
In a statement on Friday, Dalung said, “We have interacted so well over the last couple of months since the Lagos State Government, through him then as the Chairman of LSSC and Special Adviser to Governor Ambode on sports, muted the idea of renovating the National Stadium in Lagos.
“His level of intelligence and calmness in the face of challenges was excellent. Working closely with him over the last one year on the proposed Lagos National Stadium project reinforced my belief that with the help of bright young Nigerians, who are in abundant supply home and abroad, the country would be great again.”
The NFF also expressed shock over Tinubu’s death, adding that the former member of the federation’s board had helped the federation in various ways.
A statement from the federation on Friday quoted NFF first vice-president Seyi Akinwumi as saying, “The death of Ayodeji Tinubu came as a rude shock. It was like a knife through the heart. The NFF and the Nigerian football family have lost a great member, friend and supporter.
“As Special Assistant (Sports) to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, he helped to actualise the hosting of the 2nd CAF Beach Soccer Cup of Nations in Lagos State in December 2016. He had also been in the forefront of other projects in which Lagos State was partnering the NFF before he was posted from Sports to become the Governor’s SA on Commerce earlier this month.”
The Lagos State Government in a statement said an autopsy would be carried out on Tinubu’s remains to ascertain the cause of his death.
While consoling his family, the government in a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy Kehinde Bamigbetan expressed disbelief over Tinubu’s sudden death.
“We are still in shock. All of us at the State Executive Council are in disbelief. He was a good and committed patriot who brought his passion to his job. He was a gentleman who maintained excellent team spirit. We shall miss him,” Bamigbetan said.
Other sports stakeholders on Friday also mourned the former journalist’s demise.
Chairman of the Lagos Chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria Debo Oshundun described Tinubu as a perfect gentleman who was passionate about football and sports generally.
“The news of Tinubu’s death is shocking, I heard about it last night, but refused to believe it. He was a fine gentleman and good member of SWAN, in spite of his high political office he always identified with us in all our programmes,” the News Agency of Nigeria quoted Oshundun as saying on Friday.
“He lived football, ate football, wrote football, talked football, slept on football; and he died playing the beautiful game, we shall miss him greatly.”
Also, renowned sports journalist Mumuni Alao described Tinubu’s demise as the most shocking news of the year.
He said, “I saw him last at a charity event at Campos Square; Deji was very passionate about the development of sports. He was smart, I can’t believe he is gone; he wanted what’s best for football development in the country. It’s a great loss to Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole.”
Sports analyst Tayo Balogun said the deceased was a thoroughbred professional who dedicated his life to sports development.
“It’s quite sad that Deji is no more, but his memory lives on in the heart of those that knew him because of his passion for sports. We should always live everyday as if it will be our last day,” he said.
The late Tinubu was the son of late Kafaru Tinubu, one of Nigeria’s foremost police officers. He is survived by an aged mother Bintu Tinubu and wife Yemisi.
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