LAGOS State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has condoled with the widow of Deacon Ayo Ositelu, Mrs. Ariyike Ositelu and his family, describing the sudden passage of the veteran sports journalist on Wednesday as shocking and a great loss to the nation’s sports community.
Late Deacon Ositelu, author of THE ARENA, a sports column in the Punch, the defunct National Concord and The Guardian and pioneer Chairman of Ejigbo Local Council Development Area, reportedly died suddenly in his home on Wednesday night while watching television with his wife.
In his letter of condolence, Governor Fashola said he received the news with deep nostalgia recalling that the onetime Group Sports Editor of the Punch and later Editor of Sunday Punch, played “a significant role in the dissemination of sports information and the promotion of sports journalism in Nigeria.”
Quoting the words of Benjamin Disraeli, the Governor declared, “Perhaps, more importantly, he will serve as a constant reminder that, ‘the secret of success is constancy of purpose’ having authored one of the longest running sports columns in the history of Nigerian journalism, churning out insightful sports commentaries and analysis from 1981 until his death and making his a household name.”
“The residents of Ejigbo LCDA, whose privilege it was to have him as their pioneer Chairman, will also remember him for the sound footing on which he put their LCDA that successive Chairmen have been able to build upon,” the Governor said.
… FCT SWAN Mourns
MEMBERS of the Sports Writers Associations of Nigeria, SWAN, FCT chapter have condoled with their Lagos state counterparts over the death of Deacon Ayo Ositelu, one of the finest sports journalists of his generation, who died in Lagos on Wednesday after a brief illness, three months to his 70th birthday.
The chairman, SWAN FCT chapter, Kayode Adeniyi, while speaking in Abuja yesterday, said the death of Ositelu, popularly known as ‘Arena’ amongst his peers, came as a shock to sports writers in FCT.
“We were all shocked when we received the news, he is a great loss to Lagos state and the sports community here in Nigeria. We also pray to God to grant his family the courage to bear the loss,“ Kayode added.
Ositelu was the first chairman of the Ejigbo Local Council Development Area (LDCA), and his last major public outing was at the November 2, 2012 exhibition match between the Williams sisters (Serena & Venus) at the Lagos Tennis Club, where he acted as compere.
Council Chief, ACN Stalwart Extol Him
THE chairman of Isolo Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Shamsudeen Abiodun Olaleye, has described the death of sport icon, Deacon Ayo Ositelu, as an irreparable loss to Nigerian sports journalism.
Ositelu died at Topaz Hospital on Wednesday night after he took ill at about 7:30 pm, while watching Tinsel, a soap opera on television.
Olaleye, who expressed shock over the sad incident, said the former Group Sports Editor of the defunct Concord Newspaper would be sorely missed in the sport writing fraternity where ‘Arena’ as Ositelu was fondly called, had made remarkable contribution, particularly in tennis, a sport in which the departed journalist was an authority.
“His death came as a big shock because he seemed hail and hearty. He has left his footprints in the sands of time not only as a frontline sports journalist but also as an astute politician. He was an active member of our great party, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). We would surely miss him. We pray for the repose of his departed soul,” the council chief stated.
Also, Chairman of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Ejigbo Local Council Development Area, Michael Adegoke has commended the late Ayo Ositelu for the good work he did as the pioneer chairman of the Council.
Adegoke described the late Ositelu has an excellent administrator who ran an all-inclusive government when he led the council from 2004 to 2007. He said that he endeared himself to friends and foes alike, which accounted for why many came to condole with his family.
He also said that the late administrator was committed to the development of the council hence the institution of programmes that touched the lives of the people.
“He was a thoroughbred administrator and that is why many people are here to condole with his family,” he added.
The ACN stalwart, who was one of the late Ositelu’s special advisers, noted that Ositelu was also a philanthropist who was always willing to help people irrespective of their place of origin.