The Nigeria Football Federation has expressed utter shock at the death on Monday of its former Secretary General and one–time Member of its Executive Committee, Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi.
Reports on Monday morning said the 66 –year old former international defender passed on after a brief illness.
“I cannot find the words as much as I try. A very big tree has fallen in Nigerian Football and we are all devastated. If the NFF had a flag of its own, it would fly at half mast for several weeks.
“Chief Ogunjobi was one of the strongest pillars of association football in Nigeria and the entire Nigerian Football fraternity will miss him badly. The Members of the NFF Executive Committee, Management and Staff of the NFF, Members of the Congress, eminent football stakeholders and other workers in football in these shores are in shock,” President of the NFF, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, said on Monday.
Ogunjobi, an ebullient and respected football administrator, captained the first set of Nigerian academicals to defeat the Ghanaian academicals in the early 1970s and was a key member of then IICC Shooting Stars FC of Ibadan before he traveled to the United States of America for further studies. This was the reason he was not part of the IICC’s Africa Cup Winners Cup –winning squad of 1976.
He returned to Nigeria a few years later, and was a member of the young Green Eagles’ squad that Chief Adegboye Onigbinde coached to win the silver medals of the 1984 Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire.
It was time to make his mark in administration, as he won plaudits and fame managing IICC Shooting Stars and Julius Berger FC of Lagos at various times, before becoming the Secretary General of then Nigeria Football Association in 2002. He was in the position for three years.
Fondly nicknamed ‘Skippo,’ Ogunjobi, in 2006, won election into the Board of the Nigeria Football Federation, under the presidency of Alhaji Sani Lulu Abdullahi, and served meritoriously as Chairman of the Technical Committee.
In 2014 and 2018, Ogunjobi vied for the NFF presidency. It was a mark of the man (a gentleman, a true sportsman and a genuine association football man) that though he lost on both occasions, he accepted the result in good faith each time, embraced the winner, retained his dignity and co-operated with the winner and the board to strengthen association football in Nigeria.
Until his death, Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi was the Chairman of Osun State Football Association.
Packaged by Lanre Olabisi