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Nigerian football family mourn as ex-NFA boss Oneya dies at 73

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Nigerian football family was thrown into mourning yesterday by the news of the demise of former chairman of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA), Brigadier-General Dominic Obukadata Oneya.

Oneya, who presided over the NFA between 1999 and 2002, was said to have died yesterday in Effurun GRA, Uvwie Council of Delta State.

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Under his tenure as NFF chairman, the Super Eagles qualified for Mali 2002 AFCON, where Nigeria lost to Senegal in the semifinal. The Super Eagles eventually defeated the host country, Mali, to win the bronze.

Under Oneya’s regime, the Super Eagles got a silver medal at the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations that the country co-hosted with Ghana. His tenure also saw Nigeria’s successful participation at Korea/Japan FIFA World Cup, led Nigeria to a bronze medal at the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations in Mali

Under Oneya, the Super Falcons qualified for U.S. ’99 FIFA World Cup, where they made it to the quarterfinal, the best result by any Nigerian senior national team at the World Cup. The Super Falcons also won AFCON titled in 2000 under Oneya’s tenure.

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He was succeeded as NFA chairman by Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima.

Oneya also headed the Ministerial Committee on Reforms in Nigerian Football and served in various CAF committees.

Before becoming NFA boss, Oneya was military governor of Kano State during the military regime of General Sani Abacha from August 1996 to August 1998. During his tenure as Governor of Kano State, the present Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje was Commissioner of Works, while Senator Ibrahim Shekarau was Permanent Secretary (AGS) at the time.

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Oneya was also the military administrator of Benue State from August 1998 to May 1999 during the transitional regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar and handed over power to Governor George Akume at the advent of the Fourth Republic on May 29, 1999.

Meanwhile, the General Secretary of the NFF, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, said he was devastated beyond words because he spoke to Oneya on Wednesday – a matter of hours earlier. “We spoke on Wednesday because I conveyed to him information that the NFF had appointed him as match commissioner for the men’s AITEO Cup final coming up on Sunday in Benin City.”

He told me he would prefer to drive down to Benin from Warri on Sunday morning. He sounded healthy and full of life.

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“General Oneya was a gentleman to the core. Someone you can call at any time of day or night for advice and he would always oblige. His death is a huge loss to Nigeria Football,” Dr Sanusi added.

It was a double blow for members of the NFF executive committee, management, and staff yesterday following the death of Mr. Emma Tuoyo, a senior brother to the President of NFF, Mr.
Amaju Melvin Pinnick.

The late Emma Tuoyo was the son of Brigadier-General Sunday Tuoyo (rtd), who served as Military Governor of the old Ondo State between July 1978 to October 1979, handing over to Chief Adekunle Ajasin at the advent of the Second Republic.

“It has been a devastating day for the NFF president. He lost a senior brother and an uncle, as the late General Oneya was his uncle. We mourn deeply with him and can only pray that God will give him the fortitude to bear these big losses,” NFF General Secretary, Dr. Sanusi, said as he met with NFF management and staff at the federation’s secretariat in Abuja.

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