The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare has said the death of former Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Malam Bala Bawa Ka’oje is a huge loss to not only his family and friends but the country at large.
In a statement, Mr Dare said “Shocking to learn about the death of former Minister of Youth and Sports Development Engineer Bala Bawa Kaoje. So sad that Nigeria has lost a very illustrious son who served this country meritoriously. His death has robbed Nigeria of another bright mind and committed public servant. This is not just a loss to his family and friends, but the country in general.
“He made his mark while serving as Minister of Youth and Sports. He was a multi-talented man who served his people and the country with all his mind and might. May God console his family and grant him eternal rest”
In the same vein, the Nigeria Football Federation expressed its shock and sadness at the passing of the former Minister, with the NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi describing the deceased as “a dignified and unassuming public servant who showed great passion and interest in the development and improvement of Nigeria sports.”
Speaking with a former member of House of Reps, former NFF presidential candidate and a close friend, Hon Lumumba Adeh, the former minister was a good man who died suddenly as he showed no sign of serious sickness when he saw him last.
“In as much it is difficult to talk at a time like this, but then having known him for over 20 years, you are bound to know some of his traits and characters. He is a firm person, very much himself. He says what he means, he has very little deception when you are dealing with him.
“Bala is one person you can take his words to the bank. He was a friend, a good man. His death is so sudden. I was with him last Wednesday and he showed no sign of serious sickness but God knows best as death is the way of all humans,” he said with a grief-stricken voice.
Quietly intelligent, diligent and a man of high integrity, Ka’oje is on record to have conveyed to then NFA (for onward conveyance to world football –governing body, FIFA) in February 2007, the abrogation of Decree 101 hitherto governing the administration of football in Nigeria, and government’s recognition of the approval by then NFA’s Annual General Meeting of the Statutes and its standing orders as the sole regulatory instrument for football administration in Nigeria.
In the letter dated 23rd February 2007, Ka’oje unambiguously stated that “the current board was elected under the current NFA Statutes and not under Decree 101.
This has shown complete democratization of the Association as specified by its Statutes. With this development, it means the Statutes of the Association has taken effect in line with FIFA directive and has assumed a level of supreme document and operational guideline regulating the operations of the Association.”
Born in Kebbi State on 20th September 1960, Bala Bawa Ka’oje earned a master’s degree in structural engineering from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. His remains were interred in Abuja on Tuesday afternoon.