The body of the former Chairman of Ejigbo Local Council Development Area and a veteran sports journalist, Deacon Elijah Ayodele Idowu Ositelu was committed to mother earth at exactly 2:00 p.m Saturday at the Ositelu House (Oluwaseyi Mansion) at Ogere- Remo in Ikenne Local Government Area of Ogun State, southwest, Nigeria.
Ositelu died on Wednesday 9 January, 2013 few hours after watching Nigeria Super Eagles in a friendly match against Cape Verde national team in Faro, Portugal. He was 69 years old.
Delivering a sermon at the thanksgiving service held at the open ground of the Ositelu Memorial College, Ode-Remo road, Ogere- Remo, the officiating Minister, Archbishop John Ogunsile J.P said that Nigerians should not mourn the deceased rather they should “celebrate the good life our man had spent on earth to the benefit of mankind and the glory of the Lord.”
The clergyman, who titled his lecture, ‘Levity of Life’, took his sermon from the book of Samuel 39 verse. 4-6 and Job 9 verse 12. He asserted that every soul will die one day, but warned that people should all strive to be of good character before their death.
In separate tributes to the late Ayo Osilelu popularly called Arena,the Council of Reverends in which he was one of them stated that, “death has snatched a rare gem from us, we guess you might have played your own part. You came, you saw and by the grace of God, you conquered.”
Mr Ademola Dada, President of the Island Club described the deceased as a complete gentleman who have been of great inspiration to all that came his way. He said: ”We are consoled by the assurance of almighty God that He will wipe off our sorrow. Although, you are no longer with us, God will comfort your family and all of us
who are mourning you today”.
His classmates at Igbobi College, Lagos: Set 58-62 said they are still in shock with the death of their friend and colleague.
Speaking on behalf of the deceased classmates, Sir Segun George said: “We don’t believe Elijah Joe, as we fondly called him when we were in school, had died. We spoke few days before his death on our plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our graduation from the school. We have even set up a Committee in which he was one of the members. Now he has gone. We love him, but God loves him most”.
The wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dame Abimbola Fashola described the death of Arena as a great loss not only to Nigerian sports but to the nation at large.
”It is a mistake to say that Nigerian sports has lost this man, the entire nation is mourning this great man and I believe that his legacies will leave after him,” Mrs. Fashola said.
The first wife of the deceased, Prof.(Mrs Bukky Adefule Ositelu described her late husband as a brother and a multi talented man who used his talent positively. She added that his late husband started his sojourn in journalism on the hospital bed.
According to her, “he was a multi talented man who maximized his God-gifted talent very well. He started his journalism work on the hospital bed after he had an appendix operation. I was with him on the bed after the operation and he said, he wanted to start writing for The Punch newspaper. He dictated his first article to me. We later sent it to the newspaper and it was published. That was how he started writing till death dropped the pen from his hand”, she recounted.
Ositelu was survived by wives, Prof. Bukky Ositelu and Mrs Aribike Ositelu and seven children, Morayo Ositelu, Bisayo Muhammed, Obajimi, Eniola, Bababunmi, Leke and Oyinkansola Ositelu.