The sports journalists fraternity yesterday was woken to the news of the rude demise of two respected members of SWAN, Ben Alaiya and Andrew Oluwalana.
The sad event caught everyone unawares and have left a bitter taste in the mouth of close Colleagues and associates.
Following the breaking of the news associates and friends have expressed their thoughts about these two egnimas.
According to colleagues the duo of Ben Alaiya and Andrew Oluwalana are examples of thoroughbreed professionals whose absence would solely be missed.
For Bunmi Ogunyale it’s a huge loss to the sports and sports writing fraternity.
“I met both men on the job when I came newly in year 2000. Despite being my seniors, they were both accessible and caring.
Oga Ben was sociable person, very vast on the job. He calls me Bumbum. He also thought me few tricks on the job. With him, you will never run dry of story ideas. A jolly good fellow is gone. This is rude shock for Lagos SWAN family.
Samuel Oluwalana was a nonsense person. He doesn’t take no for answer.
Oluwalana was an easy going man but strict to a fault. We are going to miss him so much. May God grant the families the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. Amen.”
Toyin Ibitoye says “it is so sad. Really devastating.”
Dapo Sotuminu spared no words saying it is devastating, two big blows at the same time.
“I have lost my bosom friends, this is just too much for me. Ben Alaiya was my buddy, he was the best Super Eagles of Nigeria Media officer ever from time immemorial. As a national team Media Officer, he made us had a window into happenings in the national team.
Ben Alaiya was an editor’s delight. As a Sports Editor, we waited for him 4pm daily to reel out his exclusive stories from the national team camp, to make top headlines. Ben Alaiya was highly professional. He was a genius in human relations.”
The Media officer of the Super Falcons, Oluchi Tobe-Chukwu waxed philosophical saying “people die every day and this time around the frequency in our constituency is getting noticeable. This is shocking and the legacy that these two left behind shall not be forgotten.”
Pius Ayinor, editor of Extrasportsnigeria.com describe Ben Alaiya as, “a jolly good friend and a very playful guy we’re all very familiar with.
After the initial shock I went back the memory lane and I just remembered he was the second person who called to inform me the day we lost a dear friend of ours and former Lagos SWAN Chairman, Emeka Enechi. We lamented the loss of Enechi at such age. Our prayer and discussion was that we would continue to be friends and meet as grandfathers. That was our utmost desire. Today I saw an old photo with colleagues and both of them were sitting side by side.
How do you wake up and hear suddenly that Ben Alaiya just left without any notice.
When Adrew was added to the list of the sad news of this day, I checked my calendar again. It’s October 6th and it’s a day we can’t forget.
I know many of us would be wishing if we could have helped stop these young men from leaving us so soon, but we live with the understanding that God is still in charge, absolutely in charge, no matter what happens.”
Eche Amos, the media officer of Nasarawa United acknowledged that the legacy of the two veterans is there for everyone to see. Praying that God grant the families the fortitude to bare the loss.