Ajibola Adeoye used his lifetime to bring honour and glory to Nigeria, but he died without any recognition from the country, which he laboured to serve.
To the immediate family of the 100m Paralympic record holder, 26 March will not be forgotten in a hurry because it was the day their breadwinner passed on.
Ajibola, who ran 10.72secs. at the Barcelona â€˜92 Paralympic Games, died after a protracted illness and was buried without fanfare. He passed on after losing the battle to an undisclosed ailment. But the absence of a single official of the Federal Government and indeed the Sports Ministry, saddened his widow, Yemisi and the four children he left behind.
Yemisi, who fought back tears as she spoke with P.M.Sports at their one-room apartment in Iyana Ipaja, Lagos, Nigeria, said it was painful that the sports authorities would neglect her husband in his time of need, adding that for over six months that her husband was ill, nobody came to their rescue.
â€œIâ€™m really sad that the government neglected my husband when we needed help to save his life. Ajibola, with his disability, brought honour to this country in international competitions and now he has gone and nobody is saying anything,â€ she lamented.
â€œHe was a world champion. When he died, nobody came to pay us a condolence visit. Itâ€™s too bad that they didnâ€™t show up to pay their last respect to my husband, he was a hero, ought to be celebrated even in death. The government is not really encouraging younger athletes to put in their best for the country. This is not good at all.
“I have four children to cater for, and my husband left nothing behind. I only rely on our families to take care of me and the children, it is sad.â€
Ajibola set a new Paralympic record at the Summer Paralympics in Barcelona â€˜92, when he won the 100m amputee race at a time 10.72 seconds to clinch the gold medal of that event for Nigeria. He also won a gold medal for Nigeria at Atlanta 96 Paralympic Games.