Nigerian football community mourns former league chairman, Obaseki
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has expressed shock over the death yesterday of a former Chairman of the Nigeria Premier League and second Vice President of the NFF, Chief Oyuki Jackson Obaseki.
The 75 –year old breathed his last yesterday in Benin City, having left his giant footprints in the sands of time with his extensive work, passion and vision to take Nigeria League’s elite division to new heights. He was pioneer chairman of the body known as Interim Management Committee, which was inaugurated in February 2005, and which transmuted to the Nigeria Premier League the following year.
“A truly big tree has fallen. We remember very much the work that Chief Obaseki did to promote and project the elite division of the Nigeria League during his time as chairman. It was difficult to match his passion and energy as he pursued his vision for an independent League body.
“We worked together at some point during the early days of the efforts to reposition the Nigeria Premier League. He took everything that needed to be done as a project and drove everyone else around him hard to play their own roles appropriately,” NFF’s Acting President, Seyi Akinwunmi said on Sunday.
AIPS Vice President, Mitchell Obi described the former NPL chairman as a leader “who passionately gave himself to the beautiful game all round and no doubt a pace setter in pushing ahead professional league football in Nigeria.”
He added: “The Moving Train has stopped! May his family and friends find the comfort and courage to go through this moment of grief. Farewell Chief! All that goes returns.”
Sports journalist, Godwin Enarkhena, who was close to Chief Obaseki, described the late Benin chief as an administrator, who was passionate about football development.
According to Enarkhena, who is the chairman of MFM Sports Club, Obaseki “fought a great battle but death is indeed a bastard.
“Yes, if you were close to Chief Oyuki Obaseki and he never called you bastard, then you weren’t around him.
“The last time he called me a bastard was when he wanted to run for the NFF presidency after he had left as NFL boss and I told him not to. He said, “My Son, you know you are a bastard? I never thought of the reasons you just gave me, honestly.” He later apologized and we had a good laugh.
“I recall his best moments in his last days on earth when he was given a chieftaincy title in Benin City, which marked the first time I would be entering the Oba of Benin’s palace. It was a scary place to be. But knowing that Mr. Davidson Owumi, Isaac Ibhafidon and so many other club chairmen were around me gave me confidence.
“I can’t forget how a very tired Chief Obaseki still gathered enough strength to dance round major traditional houses in the ancient city of Benin City with his doctor by his side as part of the ceremony.
“He insisted he was going to complete the routine and he did but collapsed when he got home. This couldn’t stop him as the Moving Train still found a way round ensuring that all his guests were well taken care of.”
Obaseki, known with the alias Moving Train, was also the Ohe of Bini Kingdom – a very high–ranking position in one of the oldest Kingdoms in the universe.
As Chairman of the Premier League, Obaseki was automatically the second Vice President of the NFF during the presidency of Alhaji Sani Lulu Abdullahi – 2006-2010.
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