Two days of tributes, high emotions and tears culminated on Tuesday when former Chairman of the Lagos State Sports commission, the Late Ayodeji Tinubu, was laid to rest.
Late Deji, who before his demise was the Special Adviser on commerce, industry and cooperative to the Lagos state Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, was a friend of the house, YourSportsMemo, ACLSports.
He died last week Thursday, in the company of friends and Executive members of the Lagos state government, after he slumped while doing what he loved, playing football, at Epe.
A service of songs was held for him at the Redeemed Christian Church of God’s City of David, Victoria Island, on Monday, where his closest friends, colleagues, schoolmates and family members paid heartfelt tributes and eulogies to the renowned sportspreneur.
Amongst those who spokes glowingly about the late Deji, who was a Nottingham Forest fan, were publisher of ACLSports – Emeka Onwuka, Deji Omotoyinbo, Sola Aiyepeku, his Government College school mates, amongst others.
“Deji ranks highest among the highest and greatest people I’ve ever met,” ACLSports publisher, Calvin Onwuka, said.
“He was very good at playing pranks, ridiculous pranks, especially at me. When in trouble or upset about something, and you speak to him, Deji will tell you ‘calm down, don’t worry, it’s not that bad. We’ll find away around it,” he added.
Finished in a meeting this morning and then called my driver to come pick me up, he replies ……..” make I bring the car “ !!!!! Half fainted I did !What do I do with him ehn ??!!!
— deji Tinubu (@dejitinubu) January 24, 2018
His colleague at the Sports Council, Aiyepeku, eulogised Deji, whilst holding back tears;
“Deji was my best friend, I find it difficult to refer to him in the past. He was an extraordinary guy [and] I never thought a man would break my heart. I always felt it would take a woman to break my heart, but Deji broke it by leaving so soon.”
Tayo Babalakin, Vice-Chairman Old boys Association of Government College Ibadan, spoke on behalf of the Late Deji’s secondary school mates, referring to him as ‘kind’, ‘caring’ and a ‘gentleman’.
“He was a very kind, caring, unassuming person combined with a big heart, soft-spoken voice and passionate about sports development. He was a quintessential gentleman with enviable stellar qualities. He was a team player who lived and died for the game he cherished – football.”
On Tuesday, the Late Deji was finally laid to rest, after lying-in-state at the City of David, where his service of songs took place, with interment following thereafter at the Vaults and Garden, Ikoyi, Lagos, amidst even more tears, and tributes.
In attendance at his funeral were the creame de la creame of the sports industry in Nigeria, top government officials, led by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, and Akunwunmi Ambode, the Lagos state Governor.
“I don’t think I am Deji’s best or closest friend, but I can tell you that the friendship we shared was a true one,” friend and business partner, Deji Omotonyinbo, said. “It was based on our common love and interest for sports, leading to us setting up Sports Vision, a company that produced and packaged sports content for radio and television. We did a lot of shows together which I believe made a huge impact in the sports media.
“Deji is extremely generous I don’t know how he does it. If it were possible, he would give his eyes for another man to see, his heart for someone else to live, his nose for another to breathe. Deji has a fantastic sense of humour and I want us to replace the pain in our hearts with pride because of the man Deji was. There is no need to check the meaning of gentleman in the dictionary, just look at Deji Tinubu.
Omotoyinbo also shared a dream he had about his late friend and business partner:
“I saw Deji and about three or four people ahead of him and I couldn’t make out their faces but Deji said to them twice ‘I am better than you.’ He then turned to me and said Omot, tell them ‘I am better than them.
“Deji has gone out in a blaze of Glory and his star shines brighter in death. I am proud to have had him as a friend, classmate, brother and partner. Goodnight my dear friend and may his gentle soul rest in peace,” Omotoyinbo added.
His brother, Wale Tinubu, was left in tears as he couldn’t understand why death would take the ‘kindest, most caring, and sweetest’ of them all.
— Wale Tinubu (@AdewaleTinubu) January 28, 2018
“If death was to come to a family, I didn’t understand why in a large bunch of guys, six guys, and two ladies, why it has to be the sweetest, most caring, gentle, the kindest and sincere of us,” he concluded.
The Deji Tinubu is survived by his aged mother, Bintu, wife, Yemisi and two children.
He was also the son of the Late Kafaru Tinubu, a foremost Police Officer.