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Opeyemi wants government to immortalize Okoya-Thomas


THE chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Legislative Budget and Research, Opeyemi Bamidele, who is a former Lagos State Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development, has called on the Federal Government to immortalize the late Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas as a pillar of sports in Nigeria and a shining example of philanthropy and industry.

 Bamidele made the call in Ado Ekiti as Lagosians and Nigerians prepare for the burial of the late sports development and promotion icon billed for March 3 through March 6 in Lagos.

 According to Bamidele, who worked closely with the Lagos socialite in his days in Lagos, Molade Okoya-Thomas was an uncommon pillar of support to Nigeria’s economy and sports and has left a vacuum as his great shoes as an astute industrialist and unrivaled philanthropist would be difficult to fill.

  “His philanthropic gesture transcends beyond the shores of Yoruba race to assume an international dimension. He was selfless in service and had a reliable strength of character. His patriotic contributions to the growth of Lagos State, especially in the areas of youth and sports development, would eternally remain indelible in the annals of the country’s history. 

  “He was not just a lover of sports but a very generous and patriotic Lagosian who invested his personal resources in the promotion of table tennis and other in-door games and the stride had been acknowledged by different sports administering bodies, including the Confederation of African Football (CAF).  

 “He was the Chairman of the expanded committee on the renovation of the long-abandoned Teslim Balogun Stadium, which was later completed and commissioned in May 2007 during the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I was so motivated by his passion for the development of the games and his commitment to the provision of sports infrastructure that I had to recommend that the in-door sports hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium be named after him, and the incoming Governor Babatunde Fashola, (SAN) promptly approved the proposal upon assumption of office. 

  “Without mincing words, he was a great icon, a colossus, an ardent and distinguished lover of sports, a compassionate philanthropist in the mold of Chief M.K.O. Abiola, a highly respected elder statesman, an accomplished captain of industry and a patriotic Nigerian who, for his generous spirit and selfless service to humanity, deserves to be remembered and immortalized by this nation.”

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