From Victor Duruamaku, Owerri
Imo state government will partner with the Sam Okwaraji Foundation and other stake holders to honour the late Great footballer Samuel Okwaraji.
This is packaged as part of events to mark the 30 years remembrance of the footballer.Mr Fan Ndubuoke, Chairman Imo State Sports Commission disclosed this Monday, when members of an NGO “ Samuel Okwaraji Foundation” paid him a courtesy visit to solicit the endorsement of Imo government to honor the late renowned footballer.
However it would be recalled that Okwaraji, ex Super Eagle midfielder until his death, slumped and died on August 12 1989 during a World cup qualifier against Angola at the national Stadium Lagos.
Speaking on behalf of the Imo government, Ndubuoke said the memorial event became necessary following Okwaraji’s patriotism to the country.
“I am glad to tell you of Imo government willingness to partner and support you in this very important event.
“Late Samuel Okwaraji was a patriot and one of the Imo sons that made the state proud both at the national and international level”, he
He said he was aware of the promises which the Federal Government made to honor the late footballer. “I was a sports journalist with Champion Newspapers in 1989 when Okwaraji died.
“Now that I am in a position to play a role in honoring the late Eagles super star, I will do my best to ensuring that the programme is successful”, he said.
According to Ndubuoke Governor Emeka Ihedioha was passionate about sports development, adding that any honor done to late Okwaraji will help in inspiring the younger generation.
Ndubuoke said the commission and the foundation would hold series of meeting to workout modalities to make the even successful.
He extolled the late Okwaraji who hailed from Umudioka, Orlu Local Government Area of the State as an exceptional person who combined education with his football career and excelled in both endeavors.
In his reaction, former Super Eagles captain Henry Nwosu lauded Imo government for endorsing the project and said the planed project will motivate others to do more for the country.
“I was the Super Eagles captain when Okwaraji came into the national team and since his untimely death in Lagos the Federal Government has not done much to honor him or to take care of his family which he
described as unfortunate.
“Ex Eagle’s players are all behind the project, we have endorsed it and also calling on stakeholders in the country to do same in honor of our late hero”, he said.
Mr Patrick Okwaraji President of the NGO in his remarks earlier said the NGO was soliciting the support of Imo government to honor the Imo born legend.
Patrick Okwaraji who is an elder brother to the late football icon said part of the activities lined up for the 30 years memorial was a launching of a documentary of his short but eventful life time.
The title of the documentary according to the foundation’s leader is “Patriotism, Education and Soccer”.
He disclosed that some eminent Nigerians and corporate organizations who have contributed in keeping the memory of late Okwaraji alive will be honored.
While decrying failed promises to immortalize Okwaraji by Federal Government, the NGO also said there will be a Samuel Okwaraji Memorial lecture.
Among Ex Eagle player who endorsed the project according to the NGO are Uche Okechukwu, Peter Rufai, Etim Esin among others.
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