By Tony Nezianya
The National Triathlon Union (NTU), a privately funded Federation, recently announced that it lost a prominent member, Yinka Badare, aged 77.
Badare who was born on a Friday, Sept. 29, 1944, passed away on April 2, 2021 during a brief ill-health.
We met during an Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State in 2001.
And soon after our election into the Board of the Committee, we struck friendship from that 2001 AGM in Yenagoa. He was elected as a Treasurer and me as the Public Relations Officer (PRO).
But at the time of his departure, he was one of the foundation members of the NTU; a sporting Federation founded by a group of seasoned administrators with distinguished backgrounds from various sporting federations.
It was President Goodluck Jonathan, then as Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, under whose tenure as Acting Governor of Bayelsa State, that the NOC election of that year was conducted. President Jonathan had served under Gov. Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.
My impression of Badare has been that he was a nice man with a good heart. We did not have to meet a soothsayer for divination to know that Badare was a good man.
The buildup campaigns to that poll had been somehow bitter as in most election years of the Committee. But Badare, took the initiative to warm up to virtually all who had emerged. His move, no doubt helped to calm frayed nerves.
A man of considerable experience and maturity, it was obvious he had worked at senior management level in the Ondo State Civil Service.
He had reached the position of Permanent Secretary in Ondo State Government, before being seconded to the OODUA Group of companies; a management firm in charge of handling the investment portfolios of the South West States.
As a representative of Ondo State on the Management Team of the OODUA Board, he was a very respectable person, who understands responsibility.
Badare was dependable and as an accountant by profession, he was an epitome of responsibility. He could work with less supervision.
Throughout the tenure in the NOC from 2001 – 2004 and the 2005 – 2010, representing two Olympiads, he prepared accounting records with passion, even when others spent the money.
He would commute to Lagos from Akure and would be the first to arrive for meetings, even at personal discomfort, just to attend meetings of the Committee and those of the NTU at personal costs and even raise funds from his paltry pension.
Such sacrifices are rare but Badare, dutifully made the sacrifices for the good of sports in a bid to touch humanity in the spirit of promoting volunteerism.
He rode on the back of membership of the sport of Cycling to reach the board of the NOC.
Badare had served the sport with an unusual excitement and passion. One needed to see his excitement and commitment holding flags while acting as technical official during competitions under the scorching sun in a bid to get it right.
I daresay that Badare will be irreplaceable because his kind is like a comet. His sense of duty emphasised total commitment. His sense of time is legendary. He was not fascinated at being late to an event. He understands only punctuality to an event.
In a statement released by the NTU shortly after his passing said the Union had suffered a major blow with the demise of its Vice-President, Cycling and Technical Director, Yinka Badare.
He had passed away during a brief illness in Ibadan, Oyo State. He died on April 2.
According to the Union, Badare was one of the founding members of the NTU, a private sporting association.
Badare, had a stint in Nigeria Cycling Federation, won an election into the executive committee of the NOC in Yenagoa from 2001 to 2004 and at Abuja AGM from 2005 to 2010 as Treasurer. He served meritoriously.
Founding President of NTU and NOC Trustee, Dr Lanre Glover, praised late Badare as a passionate sports administrator extraordinaire, who committed his life to uplifting sports in Nigeria in general and Triathlon in particular.
Badare, who was a recipient of the highest honours in Triathlon for his services to the sport, was laid to rest on May 21 in Akure, his hometown.
“I recall that while on the NOC Board, Badare secured an impressive discount that the NOC enjoyed for a longtime on its hotel group,’’ noted Glover.
Olabanji Oladapo, the current Secretary –General of the NOC said: “Badare was a dedicated gentleman, who took his assignments as if there will be a tomorrow.
“He was regular at meetings of the NOC. He was always arriving earlier than other members, even though he was committing from far away, the Akure State capital.
“Badare handled the finances of the committee with care and commitment’’.
Jonathan Dygas, a Director of Accounts, Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), said: “Badare went beyond the dictates of the job to put his subordinates at ease’’.
Dygas, who worked under Badare as the Accountant of the NOC, describes him as a perfect gentleman, jovial and understanding, who would always create room for the upcoming youths to grow.
Austin Odigie, a staff member of the Committee, said that Badare was loved by all staff members because of his overwhelming care for details.
He would always go out of his way to bring in food stuff from Akure, whenever he was in Lagos for either the NOC or the Triathlon Union that shared office with the Committee.
His second son, Akin Samson Badare said his father was already being missed, not just by his immediate family but many young people that he paid school fees for.
“My father was a great man; indeed, he was too much. He took care of the school fees of many, who joined the family to mourn him. It was for this reason that we called him “The General’’, meaning father to all.
He had five children, the first son, Toye, is a serving Major in the Nigerian Army; his second child is a daughter, Yetunde, then Akin the third and the rest are Bisi and Kayode. He is survived by his wife, Taiwo Ejibola Atinuke Badare.
Adieu, Great one till we meet again on Judgment Day.