HON. OTOLORIN GBENGA ELEGBELEYE… A TRAIL BLAZER IN THE NIGERIA SPORTS ADMINISTRATION
There is a popular adage which says “Actions speaks louder than voice” and another says “The work of a man will speak for him even in his absence”…
Since Nigeria got her independence in 1960, sports has remained a very vital aspect of our collective lives that over the years have kept the nation in one accord despite several failed infamous attempts to disintegrate the nation. Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and people from all other ethnic nationalities within the country have found themselves united in one voice whenever Team Nigeria is involved in any form of Sport (Football, Boxing, Athletics etc.) at any regional, continental or international competition.
With this awareness, Hon. Elegbeleye have over the years taken deep interest in this important tool of national unity and participate at all level of its management from his immediate local community up to the national and global state. Gbenga Elegbeleye who is the proprietor of Ikare United Football Club, was appointed in the year 1998 at a very tender age as a member of the Ondo State Football Association from 1998 to 2000. In the year 2003, he became the president of Youths Sports Federation of Nigeria, Ondo State Chapter and served in that capacity till year 2009. He was also the Chairman, Ondo State Table Tennis Association (2004-2007), Vice-Chairman Ondo State Sports Development Committee (2005-2007). Between 2004 and 2007, Gbenga Elegbeleye was the Chairman of Rising Stars Football Club of Akure during which the local football club was stabilized and was able to produce some notable young stars who now ply their trade in the Nigeria Professional Football League and other foreign leagues across Africa, Asia, Europe and America. He was also a member of the Nigeria Football Association (Now Nigeria Football Federation) Fair-Play committee between 2004-2007 and between August and November 2011, he also served as a member of the Ministerial Committee on the reform of football administration in Nigeria which was followed by an appointment as member, Board of Directors, Abuja Investment Company between 2011 and 2013.
On May 15th 2013, the then President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan found in Gbenga Elegbeleye a rich antecedent in sports administration which was irresistible and appointed him as the Director-General of the National Sports Commission. This announcement was made by the President during the Federal Executive Council meeting on May 15th, 2013.
During his stewardship as the Director-General of the National Sports Commission (NSC), the commission experienced transformation and unbeatable well-orchestrated administration which resulted in Nigerian Athletes, Sports men and women winning continental and international laurels across the globe. Some of the notable success stories recorded by the National Sports Commission under Gbenga Otolorin Elegbeleye are included and not excluded to the following; the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria defeated Mexico 3-0 to win the FIFA U-17 World Cup a record time in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Nigeria female lifters won 8 golds, 3 Silvers and 3 bronze at the women category of the 2013 Commonwealth weightlifting game held in Malaysia. This was also followed up with a 3rd place position of the Home based Super Eagles in the African Nations Championship (CHAN) held in South Africa which Nigeria had never qualified for previously. He was also the head of delegation, Nigeria U-17 African Youth Games in Botswana,ntagged “Gabronne 2014” where Nigeria gathered a massive 41 medals,which is Nigeria’s best outing ever in the competition, after winning 19 golds, 10 silver and 12 bronze.
Under Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye’s leadership, Team Nigeria also finished strong in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in Scotland amassing a total of 11 golds, 11 silvers and 14 bronze which served as Nigeria’s best outing ever in the history of the games. Also, Team Nigeria emerged the best team at 2014 Marrakech Africa Athletics Championship held in Marrakech, Morocco in August, 2014. The Super Falcons also emerged Champion of the Africa Women’s Championship (AWC) held in Namibia, October 2014.
Asides these numerous feats achieved by this honourable young man, it is a verifiable fact that he has also successfully assisted over six hundred (600) indigenes of Ondo State for various trips to South Africa, Europe, Asia and America.
Hon. Otolorin Gbenga Elegbeleye was recently appointed as a Member of Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) Disciplinary Board. He is a fellow of several internationally recognized institutes and also the Patron of both FCT and Ondo State Chapters of the Sports Writer Association of Nigeria (SWAN) and Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ). He is a recipient of Gold Personality Award of Sky Sports, African Film Academy Award for Sports Development amongst many other local and international recognitions.
He is married to Solape and the marraigenis blessed with four wonderful children.