As Nigerians mourn the demise of billionaire business mogul, Chief Molade Okoya Thomas, President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, NOC, Engineer Habu Gumel has cried out that his death is a bigger loss to sports.
Chief Okoya Thomas died at the age of 79. Gumel who was devastated on hearing the news of the death of the sponsor of the longest running Table Tennis Championship in Nigeria, the Asoju Oba Table Tennis Championship said that the Olympic family would miss him dearly.
Recalling his immense contribution to the social, economic and political development of the country, Gumel said that he had an unquenchable passion for sports in Nigeria.
‘’He was a philanthropist per excellence. Not only did he give to sports, he inspired and encouraged young athletes and was present to watch Nigerians do battle against other countries in and out of the country.
He was a cheerful giver who turned the lives of many youths around for the better’’, he said .Secretary General of the NOC, Hon. Tunde Popoola was equally hard-hit for words on the Asoju Oba.
He, however, recalled how the late Chief Okoya Thomas’ Asoju Oba Table Tennis Championship had gone uninterrupted since the first edition in 1968.
‘’Tunde Obisanya, one of the greatest Table Tennis greats this country ever produced won the inaugural edition and ruled Africa over and over again. I remember that Egyptians could not come to terms with the flurry of strokes of Obisanya. Many others like Atanda Musa ‘Mansa Musa, Majekodumi, Kubirat Owolabi, Funke Oshonaike and other Tennis greats benefitted from the sponsorship of Chief Okoya Thomas. Tell me, where else can we get a man so generous like Chief Okoya Thomas in Nigerian sports?’’, Popoola asked to no one in particular.