By Victor Okoye
Members and friends of Mike Ekoja, the outgoing Captain of the IBB International Golf and Country Club, Abuja, have showered encomiums on him as his tenure gradually winds down.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ekoja’s reign as the club’s captain will end in May after one year at the helms of affairs at the club.
A cross section of members who spoke with NAN on the sidelines of the 2023 Captain’s Cup in his honour on Sunday in Abuja, said Ekoja was an outstanding captain who left an indelible mark on the club.
Boboye Oyeyemi, the Chairman, Organising Committee of the 2023 Captain’s Cup said it was a great privilege to have played a part in the organisation and planning of the tournament in honour of the outgoing Captain.
Oyeyemi added that Ekoja was a team player, as well as an amiable and humble captain.
“Indeed, what you have witnessed throughout this week is as a result of the painstaking and dedicated efforts of the members of the committee to celebrate our very humble and amiable captain.
“This year’s Captain’s Cup has turned out to be a remarkable success as shown by the number of participants. We all ensured that it ran its course with a great sense of collective achievement.
“It proves once again that golf has remained one of the powerful games that unites people from diverse backgrounds and ages aside from its tremendous health benefits,” he said.
Oyeyemi who is the immediate past Corps Marshal of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), thanked all the sponsors, participants, members and the media for their support in ensuring that the event was a huge success.
“On behalf of the organising committee, I would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who participated in the 2023 edition of the Captain’s Cup.
“It has, indeed, not only been a run away success but has also cemented the reputation of our great club.
“We thank all those who made the tournament possible through their generous donations to honour our Captain, Mike Ekoja.
“We thank members of our club, invited guests, staff, the media, other well-wishers and the international participants,” he said.
Lami Ahmed, a past lady Captain of the club (2016) said Ekoja was a dedicated and hardworking captain and a very good team player.
She added that the huge number of participants during the tournament was a good testament to Ekoja’s contribution to the growth and success of the club.
“Every year, the Captain’s Cup is the climax of all activities in this club and therefore the members come together to celebrate the captain who has devoted and dedicated a full year running the affairs of the club.
“It is noteworthy to mention that Ekoja is a special person. He is a man who gave his all and committed 356 days on a daily basis carrying out one activity or the other.
“He also supported the ladies’ section and brought glamour to the club by embarking on a lot of projects like the renovation of the club house, maintenance of the course, to mention a few, alongside his dedicated team members.
“He is a very good team manager as he was able to put members of his team together and they all worked to give us the best value we have ever witnessed in a long time.
“So, it is worthy that he is being celebrated by distinguished and respected individuals from various works of life.
“This was, indeed, the highest gathering we have ever witnessed in the history of the club,” she said.
Julie Acholonu, also a past lady Captain (2018), said Ekoja was a diligent and resourceful person who did very well in his capacity as the Captain of the club.
Acholonu noted that he also worked with a formidable team, which made it possible for him to achieve so much within a short period of time at the helm of affairs of the club.
She also expressed joy at being one of the podium finishers at the end of the tournament, promising to improve on her performance in the next edition.
“I am so elated as I finished as a runner up in the vetran ladies (handicap 19 to 54) category this year.
“Everybody wants to be appreciated for little efforts. You come here and spend about five hours playing under the sun and so you just hope to do something special.
“Sometimes, you are not going for the award, but when one is called up for recognition it kind of pleases the mind and makes you feel that you have done well in the time you have committed.
“It also encourages you to put more of your best. So, I am go back to practice and challenge myself to do better and win bigger things,” she said.
Ekoja in his response, appreciated members, staff and friends for the honour, adding that it was a testament to the fact that he performed well during his time at the club.
“The successful outing we all witnessed could only have been made possible through the painstaking planning of the Organising Committee headed by our own Boboye Oyeyemi and his hard working team.
“We enjoyed tremendous goodwill from our members which goes to show that if the goodwill of members is properly harnessed, there is so much we can achieve together for the overall interest of the club.
“We remain ever grateful to our members who supported the event in cash, material and in kind.
“Special thanks also go to all our sponsors, donors, helpers too numerous to mention, as well as the press and staff of our great club for your selfless contributions which made this day possible.
“Finally, I will like to appreciate my dear wife, Olufunke David-Ekoja, without whose support I couldn’t have achieved much in the service of the club,” he said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Salif Atojoko