The organisers of the prestigious Nigeria Pitch Awards have expressed shock and sadness at the untimely death of Deji Tinubu, one of the pioneer supporters of the awards.
The late Tinubu who died on Jan. 25, was until his death the Special Adviser on Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives to Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State.
The organisers said that it was sad that the soccer fan slumped while playing the five-aside match with fellow participants at the retreat for members of the Lagos State Executive Council and Permanent Secretaries at the Jubilee Chalets, Epe.
Mr. Shina Philips, President of the Awards in a statement to the Newsmen on Monday in Lagos, said Tinubu had been a supporter and a voter on the platform of the awards.
“Since 2012 when the maiden press conference of the awards was held, Mr Deji Tinubu had remained committed to uplifting the standard of football in Nigeria through the organisation of a credible and rewarding system,’’ Philips said.
He expressed shock at the news of Tinubu’s sudden passing on.
“He was full of life the last time we met,’’ Philips said, adding that “his death will be a very big loss to many athletes, sports lovers, sports journalists and his immediate constituency.’’
Philips added that Tinubu was one of the organisers’ top guests and speakers at the press conference that heralded the Nigeria Pitch Awards in July 2012 in Lagos.
“Since then, he has remained committed to the awards and to Nigerian football,’’ he said.
He said Tinubu’s death came at a time when the nation needed his experience and expertise most as the country was making efforts to improve on the standard of the sport.
“As friends and partners with him, we pray that God will grant his family, the Lagos State Government and the football family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss,’’ he said.
Similarly, Mr Debo Oshundun, the chairman of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Lagos State Chapter, told NAN that the body had opened a condolence register at its secretariat in Lagos.
He said that the chapter also participated in the candle- light procession organised by the Lagos State Sports Commission, held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos on Sunday.
According to the burial programme released by the family, there would be the Lying-in-State for the deceased at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), City of David Parish, Victoria Island, Lagos State on Tuesday, Jan.30, 2018 at 9.30 a.m.
It added that the funeral service would also hold at the same venue on Jan. 30 at 10.00a.m., while interment would follow immediately after at Vaults and Gardens, Ikoyi, Lagos.