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Eleyae a national, international technocrat, says Ekoko


A former sports administrator and first indigenous coach and Director of Sports in the defunct Bendel State Sports Council, Awoture Eleyae, has been described as a national and international technocrat, philanthropist, legend, role model, icon and statesman.

Professor Abednego Ekoko said this in a lecture to mark Eleyae’s 90th birthday at St. Paul’s Anglican Church Uzere, Isoko South Local Council of Delta State.

Ekoko described Eleyae as a man who had a mind of his own at a young age, which transcended to a cultural nationalist that refuse to flow with the common tide.

He said through years of uncertainty, he (Eleyae) rose to the pinnacle of sports in Africa, stressing that he became a scholar and an intellectual diplomat of world acclaim conciliator, arbitrator and sports administrator of Olympic standards.

Ekoko said Eleyae was not only one of the most popular sports administrator in the old Bendel and Nigeria at the time but was also one of the pioneers of sports administration in Africa as he was hardworking and constantly displayed selfless ambition to excel.

He added that he was a coach with intellectual content, Ph.D degrees in physical and health education with specification in sports administration.

He noted that Elayae, who started as a goal- keeper, realised his dream in athletics as he ran barefooted to pick a silver medal for Nigeria in the 880-yard race during the Ghana athletics championship in 1954.

He attended all the Olympics games, the commonwealth games and the All Africa games from 1960 to 1976 and served as a director of sports from 1984 to 1986, as well as assistant director of sports and sole administrator from 1986 to march 1990 when he retired.

Speaking to newsmen on his 90th birthday ceremony at Uzere, Eleyae said, the essence of the celebration was to give thanks to God for his favour and kindness towards him, stressing that showing appreciation to God in the presence of the younger generation means that God is the giver of life and posterity.

He prayed for the youth to be strong and serve God and to receive the grace for longevity.

Eleyae urged the youths to be focused, obey their parents and elders, as it would bring blessings and peaceful life till old age.

The celebrant, who was married for 63 years, commended his children for organising the birthday celebration and stressed that appreciation to God for his mercies over the years, shows satisfaction and expression of God’s goodness and love.

The highpoints of the ceremony was special thanksgiving by Dr. Eleyae and family, songs rendition, prayer for him by his children and exaltation by Bishop John Aruakpor of Oleh Diocese, Anglican Communion, represented by Venerable Sunday Edogbeji.

Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, who was represented by the state Commissioner for Water Resources Development, Fidelis Okenmor, Major. Gen. Alexander Ogomudia (rtd.), Major Gen. Paul Ufuoma Omu (rtd.), Vice Chancellor, Delta State University, Prof. Victor Peretomode, and traditional rulers of Isoko land, among others attended the event.

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