President Mohammadu Buhari has reacted to the death of Lady Janet Owaraji, the mother of late Super Eagles great Samuel Okwaraji who died on Monday, June 8 at the age of 83.
Confirmed by her eldest son, Lady Okwaraji died at her residence in Enugu.
Reacting to her death, President Buhari in a statement released by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Femi Adeshina said Lady Okwaraji left a “lasting memory of kindness, love and charity as a devout Christian.”
Lady Janet Okwaraji lost one of her sons who collapsed and died of congestive heart failure while playing for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
Also in his statement, the president said Lady Okwaraji will “always be remembered for the sacrifices of the family for the nation.”
“President Buhari affirms that the matriarch of the Okwaraji family, like her son, defined simplicity, loyalty and patriotism in many ways as she remained steadfast, believing in Nigeria, despite the vicissitude of life,” part of the statement also reads.
“As a mother, who lost her son in an unexpected situation, the President believes Lady Janet deserved to be acknowledged for her resilience and nobility, despite the odds.
“President Buhari prays that the almighty God will grant her soul eternal rest, and comfort her loved ones.”
Just before her death, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and Ministry of Youth and Sports headed by minister Sunday Dare placed her on a monthly stipend of N10000 and N30000 respectively.
A retired teacher and proprietor, she was a huge advocate for education which is why her late son was also a qualified lawyer who had a masters in international law from the Pontifical Lateran University of Rome.
Meanwhile, the family has formally notified the NFF of the passing of the matriarch of the family.
Patrick , brother to the former player, signed the letter which informed the NFF and the Nigerian Football family of the death of the 83 –year old retired school teacher.
In the letter, the family disclosed that she was also a community leader and devout Christian, passed on to the great beyond after a brief illness.
“It is with total submission to God that, the family of David Okwaraji (late) wishes to convey the notice of the peaceful transition of our mother, Mrs Jane Okwaraji to you. Mrs Jane Okwaraji died at her home at Enugu after a brief illness.
“On behalf of the entire family, I convey our gratitude to you for your continuous support and concerns.”
In a telephone chat, Patrick explained that the family was not quick to announce Ma Okwaraji’s death as they needed to consult with a wide range of individuals before making it public.
He also said that plans were afoot to organise a simple burial ceremony in accordance with the COVID-19 pandemic final rites protocols in Enugu state in about three weeks, with a bigger ceremony to hold after the pandemic experience.
Okwaraji, a doctoral student of law at the University of Rome, Italy collapsed and died on the field of play in a 1990 FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Nigeria and Angola at the National Stadium, Lagos on Saturday, 12th August 1989.
On Tuesday, General Secretary of the NFF, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, expressed the deep pain of the NFF and the Nigerian Football family on the death of Mrs Janet Okwaraji.
“We are deeply pained to receive this notice of the passing of Mrs Okwaraji. Only last month, we resolved to appreciate and support the noble gesture of the Hon. Minister by providing a further N30,000 monthly stipend to the mothers of Samuel (Okwaraji) and Rashidi (Yekini). It is sad that Mrs Okwaraji had to leave us at this time.