The Lagos chapter of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) on Wednesday described the demise of Joseph Ologbenla-Thompson, the association’s Founding President, as a big blow to Nigeria’s sports journalism.
The chapter, in a statement by its chairman, Debo Oshundun, expressed shock at the demise of Ologbenla-Thompson, who breathed his last on Tuesday at the age of 99.
“Though Pa Ologbenla-Thompson died at a ripe age, just like many elders, but no matter how long they lived we still don’t like to lose them.
“Pa Ologbenla-Thompson deserves to be celebrated for living a fulfilled life and we also salute him for his vision for SWAN that we all have today.
“Our prayers and condolences however go to his family at this time. We also pray for the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss,” he stated.
Oshundun added: “Late Ologbenla-Thompson was the founding President of SWAN, and he was in charge for eight years between 1964 and 1972.
“He was Secretary of Nigeria Boxing Board of Control (NBB of C) and later became Vice-President of NBB of C.
“He was the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Nigerian Referees Association (NRA) and was a Grade ll referee.
“The deceased was the vice-chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos Council.”
The Lagos SWAN Chairman added that Ologbenla-Thompson was appointed leader and Manager of the Nigerian team to the first international youth football contest between Nigeria and Ghana in 1958.
“The deceased acted as Editor of the Sunday Post in 1968 and 1969 before his appointment as Production Editor of the Morning Post, and subsequently was Deputy Editor until the company was wound up in May 1973 by the then Federal Military Government.
“He and four other senior Editorial staff were deployed to the Federal Ministry of Information in August 1973 as Information Officers.
“He held positions of the Press Secretary in the Ministries of Finance, Agriculture, Mines and Power, and the Supreme Court at various times.
“He was appointed Editor of the ministry’s first grassroots newspaper, ‘Town Crier”, published in 21 local languages and also of the Civil Service Matters.”
“He became Editor-in-Chief and later Consulting Editor in the Publications Division of the Ministry. He was also Editor of the Nigerian Scouters Magazine.
“Late Prince Tony Momoh, the erstwhile Federal Minister of Information, appointed Ologbenla-Thompson the first News Manager and also Head of Press.
“He won the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations Merit Award for Print Media in 1990 as Editor of the Civil Servant Newspaper.
“He retired the following year as Chief Information Officer but stayed on contract for two years before he finally disengaged from the Civil Service in 1993 after 40 years of cognate meritorious service to the profession of journalism
“Pa Thompson will be laid to rest in Lagos next month,” Oshundun said.(NAN)
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