By Onochie Anibeze
Illah, December 16, 2013.
I had just visited Pa Ojidoh in Illah just to say hello.
He was a father to many of us in the sports industry. An interesting chat followed. With ease, he was recalling great events of the past, giving out names and dates in a manner that compelled me to share the information with you in my two columns.
It was from Pa Ojidoh that I knew that Tony Mmoh, the veteran journalist who was once the Minister of Information was a fine athlete. “Tony Mmoh was a fine athlete but he was too academic, coming first in every subject when I taught him that I knew he would not last in sports…
Ojidoh touched many areas that day. Of those who set records, he said “I was officiating when Amanze Njoku jumped 6.8 before Fela Shobande from Hutsi College jumped 6.10. Then Ekweti from St. Gregs held Nigeria record with 12 feet. Tony Urhobo and Elili later took it beyond 13 with Policeman Okundaye. Dr. Garick held sway in the High Jump with 6.3.”
Ojidoh recalled the military in sports: “Yara’Adua, TY Danjuma, Jerry Useni, Raphael Agbaje, Sani Abacha played hockey very well and at one time even played for Nigeria.”
He continued: “There was a time in the 50s four Nigerians jumped 6.6 in High Jump in one afternoon. I remember J Majekundimi, Bello Osagie and BAA Gobadia.
In soccer, Ghana beat Nigeria 7-0 in 1955 in Ghana. I was there. They treated us lavishly and beat us silly. Then came 1957. Nigeria flew into Ghana on the day of the match as Debby Alen, the NFA scribe arranged on the day of their Independence. It ended 3-3. Nkuokpor scored two goals. We beat Ghana 3-0 on our own Independence Day. I’m dying disappointed that Nigerian government failed to honour Emmanuel Ifeajuna because he fought on the side of Biafra during the Civil War. Ifeajuna won gold in the Commonwealth Games in Vancouver with 6.8 in 1954. The war started in 1967. You can’t defend that.”
Today in Illah, Delta State, Pa Ojidoh will be lowered to mother earth. He was 88
Sports will miss him sorely. May his soul and those of the faithful departed, through the mercy of Christ, rest in peace.