August 12 rolled by yesterday like any other day without Nigerian sports administrators marking the 25th anniversary of the death of Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji who slumped and died at the mainbowl of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos in a World Cup qualifier against Angola.
Cocktails of promises have remained unfulfilled 25 years after Okwaraji paid the supreme sacrifice of dying with the national jersey number 6, a jersey that the administrators vowed would be retired in memory of Okwaraji.
But Senator Tunde Ogbeha raised serious concerns on the poor treatment of the anniversary of Okwaraji by Nigerian Football officials who are currently locked on who occupies what position at the heart of Nigerian football.
‘’It is sad that yesterday was the 25th anniversary of his death and yet it went by like a day without any relevance’’, Ogbeha a retired General and former Military Administrator of Akwa Ibom and Bendel State said.
‘’You cannot expect to get the best from serving players when they watch your shambolic treatment of their models and heroes who died in the course of playing for Nigeria’’, the Senator admonished.
He said that he expected the administrators to honour Okwaraji with lectures and seminars as well as a visit to his people to make them know that their son did not die in vain.
‘’We must begin to appreciate our heroes dead or alive. I think that Okwaraji remains a legend in Nigerian football and deserved better treatment from those who run football in Nigeria’’.
Senator Ogbeha, an ardent football follower and proprietor of Ogbeha Babes Football Club showed so much passion for football that players of Ogbeha Babes got their sign-on fees and other allowances paid without delay.
And as Nigerian officials get enmeshed with the power tussle over who controls the steering of the NFF, sources hinted yesterday that Senator Ogbeha may joine the race to salvage Nigerian football.
‘’His name has been mentioned severally but we are watching with keen interest to see if he will come out to save us from the leadership quagmire of NFF’’, one of the football heavyweights said.