10 January 2013

Nigeria: Deacon Ayo Ositelu Is Dead

Former Chairman Ejigbo LCDA and one of Nigeria's foremost sports journalists, Deacon Ayo Ositelu is dead.

The one time Sunday Punch editor died suddenly at his home on Wednesday night after complaining to his wife that he was not feeling too well.

Family friend, Kayode Tijani confirmed the tragic news, which first appeared as a rumour early Thursday morning on social media sites like twitter and facebook.

"I also first saw it on facebook and immediately put call to his phones, which he did not answer. When I again tried, luckily his wife answered. She said he was watching TV with her and next thing he was dead. It is so sad."

Widely known as The Arena (the name he chose for his popular newspaper column), Ositelu's last major public outing was as the compere during the November 2, 2012 exhibition match between the Williams sisters (Serena & Venus) at the Lagos Tennis Club, South-West Nigeria.

His official biobrief describes him thus:

"Deacon is arguably one of the most recognizable sports personalities in Nigeria, in numerous capacities - Sports journalism as former Group Sports Editor of The Punch (1982-1984) and later Editor Sunday Punch (1984-87); Chairman of Lagos State Lawn Tennis Association (1992-1999); member, Nigeria Lawn Tennis Association (1984-89); founding consultant (Publicity) sub-committee of LSSEF with Mr. Bode Emmanuel as Main LSSEF FUND Chairman; National Sports Merit Award recipient in 2003 for Outstanding Sports Journalism (Print Media); Executive Chairman, Ejigbo (LCDA (2003-2008); Author of the evergreen Sports Column titled 'THE ARENA' in the Punch, National Concord, The Guardian (1981 till date); member, Federal Government Delegation to the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games; International Sports Broadcaster, Analyst - Newspaper, TV & Radio (1980 till date); Consultant of the Editorial Board of The Guardian Newspaper - 2001 till date."

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