The media entrepreneur, according to a statement signed by his son, Julius Ojeagbase, passed away on Saturday, 26 February 2022, in Atlanta, in the US state of Georgia after a brief illness.
Popularly known as Sunny Ojeagbase – or simply S.O. – before he added Emmanuel to his name, Ojeagbase was the pioneer sports editor of The Guardian newspapers at the media organisation’s inception in 1983.
It was from The Guardian that Ojeagbase went on to become the pioneer publisher of sports news in Nigeria when he established Sports Souvenir, a weekly newspaper in 1984.
Before then, the retired soldier of the Nigerian Army, had cut his teeth in sports journalism as a stringer at the Daily Times newspapers in the mid-1970s. He would later serve as the sports editor of Sunday Concord newspapers at the newspaper’s inception in 1980.
Between 1984 and 1994, Ojeagbase introduced several other pioneering sports titles including Complete Football magazine, Complete Football International (CFI) and International Soccer Review (ISR) into the Nigerian sports market. He also introduced Complete Sports, Nigeria’s foremost sports newspaper, in 1995.
A year before that, in 1994, Ojeagbase co-founded with his wife, Esther Ojeagbase, the Success Attitude Development Centre (SADC), with a vision and mission to teach young Nigerian entrepreneurs how to start, run and make a success of their businesses. SADC has gone on to produce and inspire thousands of successful entrepreneurs who are protégés of the Ojeagbases and many of whom are now employers of labour.
Ojeagbase, whose mantra, according to the statement, “was to do business and live life with the fear of God, integrity, compassion and peace of mind,” was ordained as a pastor in March 2003.
Ojeagbase holds a Diploma in Journalism from the University of Lagos, but was conferred with a honorary Doctorate degree by a different institution for his accomplishments as an entrepreneur. He also received tons of awards and recognitions for his contributions to sports journalism, publishing, business mentorship and entrepreneurship.
He is survived by his wife, his children – both biological and adopted – as well as grandchildren and other relatives.
Burial arrangements will be announced by the family.
Condolence registers have been opened at Complete Sports headquarters at Plot 9, Alhaji Adenekan Street, Okota, Lagos; and at SADC headquarters, No. 36, Esuola Street, Off Ago Palace Way, Okota, Lagos.