By Uche Amunike
The news about Sunny Ojeagbase’s death came as a shock to Nigerians, not only here in the country, but also in diaspora, after his son, Julius Ojeagbase released a statement signed by him, indicating that his father, founder and Executive Chairman of Complete Communications Limited, passed away on Saturday 26 February 2022 at age 71, in Atlanta the US State of Georgia after a brief illness.
The late Ojeagbase was the first sports editor employed by The Guardian Newspapers, when the media organisation commenced operations in 1983.
After working with The Guardian, he went on to become the first-ever publisher of sports news in Nigeria after he introduced a weekly newspaper in 1984, known as Sports Souvenir.
Before then, Ojeagbase, who was a retired soldier of the Nigerian Army had gained experience in sports journalism in the mid-70s at the Daily Times Newspapers, after which he served as the Sports Editor of Sunday Concord Newspapers when the newspaper kicked off in 1980.
As if that was not enough, Ojeagbase introduced many other pioneering sports titles including Complete Football Magazine, Complete Football International (CFI) and International Soccer Review (ISR) into the Nigerian sports market. Nigeria’s foremost sports newspaper, Complete Sports was also introduced by him in 1995.
Before Sunny Ojeagbade’s death, his mantra in life was to be in business and live life with the fear of God, integrity, compassion and peace of mind. Little wonder, he was ordained Pastor, in March 2003.
A year before he was ordained Pastor in 1994, however, Ojeagbase, alongside his wife, founded the Success Attitude Development Centre (SADC), with clear objectives about teaching young Nigerian entrepreneurs how to start, run and make their businesses successful.
So far, the SADC had further produced and motivated uncountable entrepreneurs, who are protégés of the Ojeagbases, most of whom are presently, employers of labour.
Ojeagbase, who holds a Diploma in Journalism from the University of Lagos was conferred with an honorary Doctorate Degree from an entirely different institution for his great strides in the business world, even as he had received numerous awards and recognitions for his contributions to sports journalism, business mentorship, entrepreneurship and publishing.
Meanwhile condolence registers have been opened at Complete Sports headquarters situated at Plot 9, Alhaji Adenekan Street, Okota-Lagos, as well as the SADC headquarters at No 36, Esuola Street, off Ago Palace Way, Okota Lagos.
Shortly after Sunny Ojeagbase’s death, President Muhammadu Buhari condoled with his family, friends and professional associates through the statement released by his Senior Special Adviser on Media, Femi Adesina where he acknowledged that the vision and diligence of the late media guru transformed sports reporting and at the same time, inspired a generation of media entrepreneurs.
Part of the statement read: ‘President Buhari prays that Almighty God will remember the good works of the media entrepreneur and philanthropist and grant his soul eternal rest’.
The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), also described Sunny Ojeagbase’s death as shocking. NFF President and FIFA Council member, Mr Amaju Pinnick in his press statement had this to say: ‘Our joy is that he lived a full, fruitful and fulfilled life. On behalf of the Nigeria Football family, we pray that Almighty God will grant him eternal rest and also grant the family he has left behind, as well as the Complete Communications family, the fortitude to bear this great loss.’
His burial arrangements will be made public soon, according to his family members.