FEATURE ARTICLE

Saturday, April 30, 2022
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Belgium
ADIEU FESTUS BOLAJI OKUBULE: THE MAN WITH THE "GOLDEN WHISTLE"!

Late Festus Bolaji Okubule

"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years" Abraham Lincoln he death of Bolaji Okubule, marks once again the passing of another great character in the annals of the Nigerian soccer confraternity.

He was not just another referee, but a FIFA-badged one. In other words, he got the highest accreditation/distinction of any referee on planet earth!

Also, there were other special components to his job performance as a referee: he brought style, charisma, colour, and hilarity to his job performance!

Mr. Bolaji Okubule, was always very impeccably dressed in his referee's uniform. This stood him out from many a Nigerian, nay any referee. He had a charismatic personality, through which he exhuded : colour and of course his uncanny hilarity, in the performance of his duty.

The hilarity aspect of his job performance, was the most conspicuous of his many affable qualities as a referee. Mr. Bolaji Okubule, had the uncanny habit of demonstrating to an errant player, how he exactly fouled an opponent, whenever he made a call for foul play! This usually brought a decent measure of comic relief to the spectators, and even to the erring player, who are often wont to deny their culpability!

He was very strict, but fair in his job performance; and coupled with the above-mentioned characteristic comical expose, was never detested by anybody, not even the fans of the erring player or the erring player himself.

He was a huge personality in the refereeing world, when he was active. He was liked by all and sundry, so much so that whenever it was announced in the press, the coming soccer encounter between two teams, and that Mr. Bolaji Okubule, would be the referee of the encounter, fans were extra-motivated to go and watch the match, not only to see the teams in action, but also to see Mr. Okubule discharge his duties, in a very "special" way, with among other qualities, his well-known comical characteristics, with which he entertained the fans in a very much welcomed and desired comical relief!

He also contributed to soccer development in other ways, by being in various committees aimed at developing the game of soccer in Nigeria.

He will be sorely missed. Without a shadow of doubt, Mr. Festus Bolaji Okubule , was one of the huge soccer personalities of the twentieth century in Nigeria, nay Africa!

In conclusion, my sincerest condolences to his family. May his soul rest in perfect peace of the Lord! Amen!!!!

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