The Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has described the death of Bode Oyewole, former Chairman, Shooting Stars Football Club of Ibadan, and Henrietta Ukaigwe, former Board member, Women Football League, as a huge loss to Nigerian Football.
Mr Dare, in a statement on Thursday, also described the demise of the sport icons as a great loss to their families, Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN).
The minister said that the death of the duo, Mr Oyewole and Mrs Ukaigwe, was “a big blow to Nigeria”, saying that their death had robbed the football family of their invaluable services and contributions.
Mr Dare said: “Nigeria has lost two accomplished journalists, administrators and committed individuals, who did so much to uplift the standard of Nigerian football.
“While Chief Bode Oyewole presided over Shooting Stars when they won the treble in 1998, Ukaigwe is known to have championed the development of female football.
“They both played significant roles in positioning Nigerian Football to lofty heights.
“They were indeed shining lights of not just the Journalism profession, but football development.
“Their death is not just a loss to their immediate families and friends, but the pen profession and Nigeria football.
“They died when their services were most needed. My deep condolences to their families, friends, NUJ, SWAN and the entire football fraternity.
“May their souls find eternal peace in the bossom of the Most High God,” he said.
According to Mr Dare, both Oyewole and Ukaigwe died on July 14.
“Oyewole was a former Chairman of the Oyo State Council of NUJ between 1978 and 1980, worked with the Regional Office of Radio Nigeria, and served as the Chief Press Secretary to the late Gov. Kolapo Ishola.
“Ukaigwe was Vice-Chairman of the Lagos State Chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), worked with Vanguard Newspapers, Minaj Broadcasting Services, and Superscreen Television.
“She formed the Female Football Interest Group that championed the course of developing female football in Nigeria.
“Elder Bode Oyewole is expected to be buried in Ibadan on Friday,” he said.