Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The Director General National Council for Arts and Craft (NCAC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, has exalted Nigeria’s golf legend, the late Jamiu Oyebajo by organising a memorial kitty and promising to keep his name alive.
Oyebajo, was one of the four caddies that were sponsored by Nigerian Tobacco Company (NTC) in 1968 for a professional training in England.
That effort later crystalized into the Professional Golfers Association of Nigeria (PGAN), the following year, when alongside their English tutor, John Nosworthy, Oyebajo co-founded PGAN with three other players- Emmanuel Lawrence, Patrick Okpomu and Festus Makelemi. The late Mathew Jacob was the administrator.
Oyebajo, who for many years, was the former Resident Professional at Ikeja Golf Club, died on November 7 last year, few weeks to his 71st birthday. He was also the former Director of PGAN.
Runsewe, who is also a member of the Board of the Nigeria Golf Federation (NGF), declared yesterday that he offered to organise the Memorial Kitty in recognition of Oyebajo’s selfless and sterling contributions to the development of golf in Nigeria.
“We can’t talk of golf in Nigeria without mentioning the impact of Oyebajo. He was a pioneer of the professional game in our country. He was also an exceptionally good teaching professional. His footprints can be seen all over the country,” Runsewe said.
Runsewe vowed that the 18-hole Oyebajo Memorial Kitty held at Ikeja Golf Club and which had a turn-out of 90 golfers in the professional, gentlemen amateur and ladies categories, will be dedicated as an annual event.
Alex Goman won the men best nett prize while Funmi Ogunsa emerged winner in ladies category. Chidi Tobias returned 3 over par 72 to win the professional contest.
Several raffle prizes were also given to many of the people that were in attendance.
Tobias, one of the professional golfers at Ikeja, thanked Runsewe for sustaining the legacy of Oyebajo and for promising to make the tournament a yearly event.
“Oyebajo was a disciplinarian and a role model for many Nigerian professional golfers. He impacted golf ethos in me and also taught many corporate leaders how to play golf. We really miss him at Ikeja Golf Club and at PGA Nigeria. His death came too soon,” Tobias said.