It was a show of shame in Calabar over the weekend when world soccer’s organizing body FIFA, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and top government officials refused the immortalization of the first member of FIFA’s executive committee and committee executive of the country’s CAF, Etubom Oyo Orok Oyo. .
Not even the top football and sports officials of the Nigerian government were present. The Sports Minister, Mr. Sunday Dare, the State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade and others were also absent.
However, the president of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, was represented by the duo of the NFF Deputy General Secretary, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme and the President of the Delta State Football Association, Chief Kenneth Nwocha.
Etubom Oyo, popularly known as ‘Mr. Football’, who was also the first secretary of the Nigerian Football Association (NFA) and general secretary of the Nigerian football body, died 14 years ago.
Fourteen years after the neglect by relevant agencies and the government to immortalize the late ‘Mr. Football’, his family, headed by his first son, Etubom Orok Oyo Orok (Jnr.), launched the first Mr. Football Foundation in Calabar, Cross River State. At the launch of the Foundation, a book chronicling Oyo’s life and times leading football in Nigeria, CAF and FIFA was launched in a colorful ceremony at the Duke Town Presbyterian Church, Calabar. It was completed with the launch at the UJ Esuene Stadium.
The first son of the soccer icon, Etubom Orok, criticized the political class, saying that the lack of political will did not allow his father to be immortalized despite the guarantees of the authorities.
He lamented: “The greatest misfortune that has happened to my father is coming from this part of the world.”
Etubom Oyo died on September 10, 2008, exactly 14 days after his 86th birthday and would have turned 100 on Saturday August 27, 2022 if he were alive.
The chairman of the occasion, Senator Andrew Uchendu, who is the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the University of Port Harcourt, in his welcoming address, said that the event will take place in the year of his posthumous centenary.
Senator Uchendu, who was represented by Dr. Asuquo Ekanem, said, “Mr. Football essays is a compendium of articles by the late Etubom Oyo Orok Oyo containing 207 essays with 286 pages.
“Allow me at this point to renew the call to the governments, both federal and state, to immortalize this great son of the state for his contributions to the development of football inside and outside the African continent.
“This could be done by naming a football team or a stadium facility after this great icon, the man deserved to be so honored.”
In their separate comments, Ikpeme, Nwocha and Cross River State Football Association Second Vice President, Mr. Gregory Abang, said the NFF was working hard to ensure the late Etubom Oyo was immortalized because so much had been said. about him. .