By Godwin Aikigbe
SAMDA is in grief following the demise of the secretary-general of its Nigerian team, Ganiyu Akanni, who passed on November 10 in Lagos, Nigeria, after a brief illness.
The amiable Akanni, an ex-Nigeria international who shone in the colours of several clubs in the Nigerian top flight, notably Julius Berger FC of Lagos, was buried on November 11 according to Moslem rites, with the funeral service held at Cross of Light Ministry, 584 Cambridge Street, Worcester, MA 01609, USA. Another funeral service will be held on Thursday, November 17 at Rowe Park, Alago Meji, Lagos State starting at 1pm.
Aged 61, Akanni is survived by a wife and two children, who are residents of the USA and are expected in Lagos, Nigeria, for the final burial ceremony set for December 22, 2022.
The deceased unarguably lived up to his billings in his secretariat duties and was a protagonist in the formation and sustenance of SAMDA Nigeria.
The news of his passing, announced at 5:50 p.m. on WhatsApp by the Director of Operations, Akeem Ishola, elicited chills across the organization and the entire Nigerian football fraternity, leaving a myriad of eulogies in its wake.
SAMDA was not exceptional, with most of its members across the globe mustering feeble comments in their deeply distraught state.
The CEO of SAMDA, Tonykona Fele, wrote: “Ladies and gentlemen, I have been reflecting on this big loss to our team in Nigeria. This is a very big loss, not only to the family but also to the many friends, including our baby organization in Nigeria. On behalf of all of SAMDA’s staff members in the USA, Africa, the Caribbean, and my family, I wish to extend our deepest sympathy to the family for the loss of our beloved friend, brother, father, and secretary of SAMDA Nigeria. May the loving hands of our Savior guard him on his next path and his soul rest in peace.”
Shell-shocked chairman of SAMDA Nigeria, Tajudeen Disu, who earlier described his demise as “one death too many,” managed to write: “The news of the passing of our amiable secretary, Ganiyu Akanni, hit me like a thunderbolt.
“I am still hoping it is a dream that will never see the light of day.
“Ganiyu was an amiable person, and he has left a vacuum that will be difficult to fill at SAMDA Nigeria and all other platforms where he performed leadership roles.
“I formally commiserate with his immediate and extended families and SAMDA Nigeria members, praying that God gives us all the fortitude to bear the huge loss.”
Director of Agriculture, Michael Adeyemo, who earlier expressed his consternation in separate statements on the platform, stated:”My condolences again to the chairman, members of the SAMDA family, the YSFON family, ex-internationals, former players, etc. Ganiyu’s death was a rude shock for me and everyone that has met him one time or another. He was a gentleman, soft-spoken and focused. May Allah give us the fortitude to bear his loss, and may Allah keep the rest of us alive for longer. We will all miss him, and may his immediate family be consoled by God.
“He was a very selfless and active man. May God give us the fortitude to bear the loss. May his soul rest in perfect peace,” wrote Ronke, who is in the sports department.
Akeem Ishola, Director of Operations and close friend, broke the sad news: “My fellow SAMDA, our amiable secretary is the late Gani Akanni.” He later wrote, “I still can’t believe it. May Almighty Allah forgive all your shortcomings. We are going to miss you very much. Rest on my humble brother.”
“What a shocking news! It’s indeed a great loss. It is our prayer that the Lord will grant his immediate family, YSFON and SAMDA, grace to bear the irreparable loss. Rest on GS,” stated Legal Adviser Kunle Fakayejo.
Grant Writer Muhamed Babatunde Ogidi exclaimed, “No, no, no, Gani, you could have told me you were going!You left me without a word.”
“OMG ! How come? What happened?” queried Director of Finance, Nneka Nnamdi.
Yours sincerely who is the Director of Media couldn’t find words to express his grief, posing the question to which he didn’t expect to get an answer: “OMG! How?”.