Nigerian veteran sports journalist and retired Director of Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Akinloye Oyebanji, has died at the age of 62.
His family confirmed that Oyebanji passed on at National Hospital, Abuja, on Saturday morning after a protracted battle with heart failure.
Mr Bukoye Oyebanji and Dr Steve Olarinoye, family member and close friend, disclosed that Oyebanji had been ill for almost four months now and the family had spent millions of naira to save his life without any improvement.
They said some time ago, he had the misfortune of losing his kidneys, and they were replaced successfully through a transplant in India.
“But one of the side effects of kidney transplant is heart failure, which he had experienced on two occasions and survived.”
Oyebanji served the NTA for 35 years in different capacities, including being a sports broadcaster, and later as General Manager (Sports).
He retired as Managing Director of NTA Properties at the authority’s headquarters in Abuja.
Oyebanji, who hailed from Kwara, is survived by four children and a wife.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed sorrow at the passage of the veteran sports journalist.
According to a statement by the President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina in Abuja, the President condoled with Oyebanji’s family, friends and colleagues, particularly at the NTA.
President Buhari also recalled that the deceased was very good at his art, and would be sorely missed by the sporting community.
He prayed that Oyebanji’s soul finds eternal rest and that God would comfort all those that mourned him.
In the same vein, Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde has described the death of Oyebanji, as a great loss for sports journalism in Nigeria.
In a condolence message, the governor said that the news of the journalist’s demise was shocking.
According to a statement by Mr Taiwo Adisa, his Chief Press Secretary, in Ibadan on Saturday, he said that Oyebanji personified excellence in sports reporting, while in active service.
The governor also commiserated with Nigerian Union of Journalists, Nigeria Guild of Editors and sports journalists around the globe, “for the loss of one of their own”.
“Those of us who followed his career progression will not forget in a hurry, how he used his expertise to shape sports journalism at the NTA, Ibadan, and at the network stations of the organisation.
”To say the least, sports journalism has lost a gem and we pray that the good Lord will console his immediate family and give his colleagues, the sporting world and journalism, the fortitude to bear the loss.
”We equally urge the widow, the children and members of the immediate family to remain strong in their determination to actualise the unfulfilled dreams of the departed,” he stated.