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Aderinokun: Tribute to an erstwhile `Sports Warrior’


I will miss Eddy Aderinokun, 80, the erstwhile Chairman, National Amateur Volleyball Association (NAVA), now, Nigeria Volleyball Federation (NVF).


Aderinokun, a journalist, writer, sports administrator and cultural Ambassador, died during an ill-health on Jan. 3 in Lagos, according to a family statement.


There is no doubt that Aderinokun hatched a revolution of sorts within the sports leadership to lead the sport of Volleyball, but wilted at a point, on a verge of total victory. He had taken on fights on many fronts at the same time.


Before his era there was a period of lull in NAVA, under the leadership of Group Capt. Ogunseitan.


Aderinokun waged many battles to assume the headship of volleyball and in the process won the hearts of many folks. He had the backing of many sponsors of the sport. This provided a lot of impetus.


The era witnessed many victories for Nigerian Volleyball in real terms during which he rallied massive sponsorships and following to support the growth and development of the game.


A Lagos-based sports journalist, Duro Ikhazuagbe, who underscored this, noted that at this period, the sport almost rivalled football in popularity.


This is a fact corroborated by Tony Ubani, another Lagos-based Sports journalist, who commented that he was swept him off his feet to follow Aderinokun to where he had predestined at the time.


“Volleyball under Aderinokun made waves. Under him, some major African Volleyball championships were staged in Ilorin and Lagos.


“He also had the following from the sportsmen and women and the Media was awash with many events. There were many events to talk about and Aderinokun was the media’s delight,’’ Ubani added.


“There was nothing stopping him but perhaps the time was not ripe as he eventually gave in to the forces of cynicism and lost the battle for the soul of the sport.”


Aderinokun needed folks like Habu Gumel, an eventual successor President on his bandwagon, but Aderinokun failed to seize the opportunity, when Gumel sought to rally the other the abandoned members of the erstwhile board of the association.


This compelled the board members to join forces with the then National Sports Commission to scuttle Aderinokun’s ambition.


The NSC mustered its distracting influence, given the prevailing rules and regulation to shoot down the revolutionary forces of Aderinokun. The fact that his mission was misunderstood largely ensured that his mission to wrest leadership of the sport failed.


That misunderstanding also gave rise to the likes of late JOJ Ochi, erstwhile Secretary of the federation, who seized the initiative to do incalculable damage.


Aderinokun fought on many fronts, having to stage an Ill-conceived Olympic Committee coupe, set him on collision course with even his dedicated loyalists, including the writer, even when I had not nursed the ambition of an NOC position.


That was the end of the revolution. I feel sad that he took on too much at the time that he needed a focused fight for one battle at a time. It naturally led to an aborted dream.


During his life time, Aderinokun edited the Daily Post in the 60s. He was a member of the Association of Nigerian Authors and did extensive work as cultural Ambassador.


Rest on, Aderinokun, a worthy fighter. I will be on your side any other time but the objective must be clearly defined. I respect your guts.


The fact that you tried and failed should not deter a future endeavour if ever opportunity calls again, but death they say is a finality.


But, the objective should have been well defined and the strategy followed diligently. Fight from great beyond my leader.


The Almighty will help you to redefine your objectives in case of a future endeavour. Rest on a good warrior. I really miss you, Eddy Aderinokun. Good night. (End)

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