House of Reps wants NFF to immortalise Okwaraji

Sam-OkwarajiThe House of Representatives yesterday urged the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) to immortalise the late Nigerian footballer, Samuel Okwaraji, “for his selfless contribution to sports development in the country.”

Okwaraji died on August 12, 1989 at the National Stadium, Lagos, while playing for Nigeria in an Italy 1990 World Cup qualifier against Angola.

A doctorate degree student of law, Okwaraji slumped under his own weight 13 minutes to the end of the match and was confirmed dead on arrival at the hospital.

The House equally urged the Federal Government to name a stadium or at least a sports centre after him in recognition of his tremendous contribution and sacrifice to Nigeria, as well as provide necessary welfare scheme for his aged mother and other members of his immediate family.

Adopting a motion by Tajuddeen Yusuf (PDP, Kogi), the House further called on the Imo State Government, Okwaraji’s state of origin, to name an institution after him.

The lower chamber also resolved to send a delegation of lawmakers to visit, identify and show solidarity with members of the Okwaraji family.

Yusuf had in his motion on the floor noted that August 12 was exactly 26 years after Okwaraji slumped and died at the Main bowl of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, while playing for his fatherland in a World Cup qualification match against Angola.

He said despite the fact that Okwaraji was an embodiment of humility, commitment and patriotism, 26 years after his death, “nothing concrete and enduring has been done by the Federal Government, Nigerian football authorities and Imo State Government to immortalize” the football legend. The chamber unanimously adopted the motion.

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