Tribute to Sunny Ojeagbase (SO The Original) by Taiwo Obe

Tribute to Sunny Ojeagbase (SO The Original) by Taiwo Obe 2

His sport editorship on The Guardian was cut short by a brouhaha over pay cut. But, within that brief period, he reshaped sports journalism in Nigeria, and none has matched what he did, giving quality attention to every sport.

His flagship column, S.O THIS MORNING had a strapline, THE SPORTS COLUMNIST YOU CAN’T IGNORE. But, he was more than a columnist; he was a sports editor’s editor.

Sunny Ojeagbase, later Sunny Obazu-Ojeagbase and until his death on 26 February in Atlanta Georgia, USA, at the age of 71, Emmanuel Sunny Ojeagbase, knew how to hook and keep his readers breathtakingly-engaged from the headline through the simple prose and the dazzling page design.

From The Guardian, he went to create other works: Sports Souvenir (I remember contributing a story on the former Director-General of the National Sports Commission, Dr Isaac Akioye buying akara from one Mama at a Lagos bus stop without any airs or whatever); Complete Sports, Complete Football and Success Digest. I called him SO, The Original to distinguish him from the other SO (Sonala Olumhense).

To think that we only just reconnected last October, after so many years. I had shared a feature from mytori.ng with him, and he said, in part, “Congratulations, TO. The same restless and irrepressible TO. Still kicking and doing only what makes you head and shoulder taller than most of your peers.”

Those words fit him more: he was a phenomenal class act. May Light Perpetual shine upon you, The SO Original.

Taiwo Obe, Founder/Director of The Journalism Clinic, contributed this tribute on LinkedIn

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