Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 14 July 2013 | 4,794 times
Less than two months after the burial of world-celebrated writer Chinua Achebe on May 23, Ogidi Community in Idemili North local Government Area of Anambra State has buried yet another Achebe – this time the accomplished football administrator, Chief POC Achebe.
Ikenga Ogidi was a beehive of activities Friday as sports administrators trooped out in large numbers to honour the former Secretary General of the defunct Nigeria Football Association (NFA), now known as Nigerian Football Federation (NFF).
Among football administrators present at Achebe’s burial service at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Ogidi, were NFF Vice Chairman, Chief Mike Umeh; former NFA Vice Chairman, Chief Nwabufo Obienu; Chief Emeka Inyama; Mr. Ademola Olajire; former Anambra State Director of Sports, Dr. Robert Duhu; Mr. Charles Ojugbana; Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme; Dr. Christian Emeruwa and Felix Ogbuka.
Also, the ex-players of Rangers International of Enugu where Achebe once served as Chief Organising Secretary turned up in large numbers to honour the man generally acknowledged as one of the greatest football administrators Nigeria has ever produced. They include Emmanuel Okala, Luke Okpala, Ernest Ufele, Stanley Okoronkwo, Jude Agada, Akeem Ashiru, Francis Nwosu, Okwuchukwu Obiorah, Mike Ogbodudu and Patrick Ilouno, among others.
In his tribute, Chief Umeh said Achebe, who was famously known as Mr. Football, committed his all to football administration and that made him to remain a sports administrator till death.
“To me, every football administrator in Nigeria benefited from Achebe’s wealth of experience,” Umeh said. He commended members of Achebe’s family for bringing his body back to Nigeria for burial, adding that it would have been a great disappointment if he was buried outside his father land.
In his own tribute, Inyama, an NFF top shot and a former Commissioner for Sports in Abia State, described Achebe as an icon who was also a consummate sports administrator. He noted that all sports lovers in the country, especially football lovers, would miss him dearly.
On his part, Dr. Duhu said that the greatest tribute Nigerians could pay to late Achebe was to immortalise him because he contributed immensely towards the development of football in the states where he worked and Nigeria at large.
Speaking, Chairman of ex-Rangers players, Mr. Luke Okpala, said it was Achebe that taught them how to play the game, adding that they remained indebted to him.
Preaching a sermon during the church service, the Vicar of St. Paul’s Church, Ogidi, Reverend Chris Amaku, said by forfeiting his university education to train his siblings following the advice of his father, the late Achebe showed how humble he was.
Chief Philip Onuora Chikaodili Achebe died of prostate-cancer last March 9 in Decatur, Georgia, USA, aged 83.
•Photo shows a cross section of mourners at Achebe’s burial service.
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