Toyin Gafar, Yemisi Tinubu, Deji Omotoyinbo and Enefiok Udo-Obong

Making of Champions (MoC) CEO, Bambo Akani, and Olympic medallist Enefiok
Udo-Obong were the two keynote speakers at the Third virtual “Deji Tinubu
Memorial Symposium” to remember the life of the former Lagos State Sports
administrator.

Themed: “The Life Changing impact of Sports,” both speakers talked about how
sports could be revitalized and used as a driving force, citing the Jamaican model
which has worked effectively for the small island country where World iconic
superstars like Usain Bolt have come from.

Deji Tinubu recognized the impact Athletics and other sports could play,
partnering with MoC to host the 2016 Top Sprinter auditions, which was merged
with the Lagos Relays.

Yemisi Tinubu recounting her husband’s life as a Sports administrators

Tinubu’s wife, Yemisi who was a special guest of the programme recounted her
late husband’s passion for Sports: “he was very passionate about Sports. He
initiated many grassroot programmes like: the Skoolympics, Barcelona Academy
and the Monopoly Game that holds the World Record of the largest gathering of
Athletes.”

“He also led the initiative for the refurbishment of the Agege Stadium” Mrs Tinubu
added. “Deji believed that Nigeria could one day be one of the great Sports Nations of the World. He was just not an astute Sports administrator, he was an active participant. He lived, slept and played Sports,” she added on the life of her husband.

Meanwhile, Akani while talking about how MoC Track Club took off in Lagos, he acknowledged the role Tinubu played then when he was heading the Sports Commission in the State.

MoC CEO, Bambo Akani presenting a customized bib to Deji Tinubu in 2016

“Deji Tinubu’s support was very critical on how we started up, working with us in 2016 and agreeing to sponsor the Top Sprinter auditions at the Teslim Balogun Stadium. Our developmental programmes have helped us discover many athletes who have gone on to represent Nigeria, and won many medals.

“We will have at least up to three to four athletes going to the Olympic Games and the Paralympics in Tokyo this year. I am very excited to be a part of a life-changing impact of sports for Nigeria.

“The decision to move back to Nigeria to start MoC, leaving behind a career in Investment Banking & Management Consulting, was really that of calling,” Bambo said on why he left the UK to return to Nigeria after the London 2012 Olympics when Nigeria failed to win a single medal at the Games.

Udo-Obong who is the only Nigerian male athlete to have won two Olympic medals, on his part talked on the difference a career in Sports can make in the life of an individual. ” Sports build friendship. It helps people even lead society better than the government.”

Udo-Obong won a GOLD in the men’s 4x400m at the Sydney Olympics, and Bronze in the same event four years later in Athens

“By succeeding in sports, it helps people move up the social strata of the society.
People who have participated in sports are long term employable people” Udo-Obong said.

The Deji Tinubu symposium is an annual event, and is expected to return for the
4th edition in 2022, to continue honouring the life of one of the best Sportscasters
of his generation, who tragically died in 2018.

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Very proficient in writing and talking about football, but has now found a new love in Athletics. Just a matter of time before I become a master on things pertaining to the tracks. Formerly the Content Manager-Sports at NigerianBulletin and Allsports, Christopher is now a Senior Sports writer at Making of Champions.

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