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Rev. Fr. Obinna Dike sprinkling Holy water on the corpse of Ikem Okolue

Sometime last year, I featured Ikem Okolue in my page with the title, “I was the Highest Medalist in 1974 for East Central States”. It was indeed a rich interview with him which ran through December edition of last year till January 8- 14, 2017 edition. Ikem Okolue was a very good spinster who brought honour to East central states and to Nigeria. You may wonder why I am revisiting his page again. Ikem Okolue was indeed a legend who died on the 3rd day of June, 2017 and was buried in his home town at Nnobi on 9th July, 2017. Late Athlete Ikem Okolue was the Director of Anambra State Sports and Development (Consultant).

Members of family members mourning Ikem Okolue during the lying in state at the Ministry of Sports, Awka

Ikem Okoulue is the second child of his parents. Born on 24th June, 1957, Ikemefunna Felix Okolue attended St. Mary's Catholic Primary school, Uwani and proceeded to College of Immaculate Conception (CIC), Enugu where his sports life began. He was into 400M, 400M hurdles, 200M and 4x400 relay races and gained his O'level certificate in 1975. He represented East Central States presently the South East State and also represented the country in many sporting activities.
He excelled so much in his sports life to the extent he gained two national scholarship and at the same time but accepted the scholarship from the University of Minnesota in USA in 1977 where he got his B.Sc in Physics and Post Graduate studies in Audio Engineering at the same university. As a guru in sports, he has coached many great athletes like Innocent Egbunike, a world champion, Francis Udeh, John Okoye, Beatrice Utondu, a world champion and many others.

The Commissioner of Sports, Hon. Uju Nworgu narrating her good moments with Ikem Okolue and also paying her condolence to the family members.

He did his Youth Service in the Sports Council at Benin in 1984 and that was the same year he retired from active running. His passion in music made him to associate with the likes of Fela, Sonny Okuson, Bongus Ikwe, Felix Liberty, Nelly Uchendu and he also nurtured young talented people like Alex O'Eskay. He also worked with Tabansi Records, EMI records, Master Sounds, Info Graffix Group, before opening his own studio where he was into Audio Engineering, content development, video conferencing and documentary. The streaming of FRSC news during Obasanjo tenure was done by Ikem and the documentary on miners' strike of 1949 at Enugu was also done by Okolue. I retired as a Microsoft Media Specialist and IT in 2007.

Burial poster of Ikem Okolue describing the effects of his demise.

Ikemefuna was known to be a devoted husband, beloved father, brother, dependable friend and most importantly very hardworking. He worked very hard to establish a pressure group to get the facility of Ogui sports Stadium, Enugu (which was built by Nnamdi Azikwe in 1956) back to the state so that the FIFA will be able to hold the U17 football championship in 2009 in the stadium.
Because of the success of this his great effort, the then commissioner of sports, Ogbuefi Tony Nnacheta who is now the present Commissioner for Information brought him to serve the State as a Consultant, Director of Sports where he contributed greatly till his demise. He also worked greatly with the present Commissioner for Sports, Hon. Uju Nworgu who on the day of his burial spoke greatly about his hardworking spirit and how he has so much uplifted sports in the state. The commissioner who felt so bad about his demise narrated some of her experience with Ikem. In fact, she called him a Legend.
Though he faced a lot of discrimination during his active sports and during his academic pursuit in USA; but it didn't stop him from pushing hard and working towards success.

My good time with Ikem Okolue in his office at the sports ministry sometime last year November after our interview session

In America, he lettered for four years and was the University Captain in 1980 in my senior year and coached some high school during break or summer just to make ends meet.
He is blessed with four beautiful children and he was also the chairman of the organizing committee for youth development till his death. His strong love and commitment to Anambra sports made his to love yellow and black as his favorite colours.

 


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