By Richard Animam
The Ibori Golf and Country Club Asaba was a beehive of activities last weekend as the club honoured one of the best professional golfers in the country, late Ali Abdullahi, who passed on a few months ago on his way to Minna, Niger state, with a tournament.
As expected, the venue was filled to the brim as over 90 pro golfers turned out for what turned out to be the first memorial event for any pro golfer in Nigeria within few weeks after his demise.
It was a crowded house and for once, IGCC came to live again. Ali’s father Mallam Jubril Abdullahi who was at first shocked and confused when heard about the death of the bread winner of his family was elated when he finally met the man (Hon. Daniel Mayuku) whom his late son described as a father and friend.
According to him, for long he had heard stories from his son Ali about the generosity of IGCC captain Hon. Mayuku who literarily took him as a son. Shortly after Ali’s death, Mayuku who was equally speechless when he heard the news, vowed to honour the late Zaria- based pro golfer with a memorial tournament, one that he said would last in the memory of golfers for a long time and that was exactly what he did last weekend in Asaba.
Five prominent golf captains- From Sapele, Enugu, Warri, Calabar and Ada graced and competed in the tournament that produced Abuja based pro golfer Gboyega Oyebanji as winner of the event shooting 145, one over par over 2 days. Minna based golfer Martin Odoh placed second while IGCC resident pro Francis Isuku made use of local knowledge of the course to finish third.
“Ali was more than a friend to me, he was more of a brother. He stole my heart with his professionalism and discipline. He was such a great player and he touched my life and game in so many ways. I knew Ali through Osas Enaigbe but our relationship became so good that if Osas wanted something from me, he usually sends Ali, that was how close we were.
We can not blame God but we thank him for bringing Ali at the time he did and for his impact in our lives. Ali touched many lives including that of the captains who graced this tournament. Within the short time he spent on earth, he achieved so much and we just thank God for Ali and the family”, Mayuku said.