The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has expressed deep sadness over the death of former IOC member from Nigeria, Major General Henry Edmund Olufemi Adefope (Rtd), who died in Lagos on Sunday March 11, aged 86.
Major General Adefope, a former external affairs minister of Nigeria, served as an IOC member from 1985 to 2006, after which he was made an IOC honorary member.
He played an active role in the world of sport, heading numerous sports organisations in Nigeria and Africa, including the National Olympic Committee of Nigeria from 1967 to 1976.
In 1973, Major General Adefope chaired the Organising Committee for the 2nd All-Africa Games in Lagos, and he was Vice-President of the Commonwealth Games Federation from 1974 to 1982.
He belonged to the following IOC commissions: Tripartite, Apartheid and Olympism, Medical, Study for the Preparation for the 1996 Olympic Games, Enquiry for the Games of the XXVII Olympiad in 2000, Evaluation for the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad in 2004, and Sport and Environment.
A medical graduate of Glasgow University, Major General Adefope started his career as a doctor, and rose to become Director of Medical Services (and hold the rank of Major General) in the Nigerian Army. He was Nigeria’s Minister of Labour from 1975 to 1878 and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1978 to 1979.
Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) President, Sani Ndanusa, in his condolence message, said that Adefope was an inspirational leader whose contribution to the Olympic family would be difficult to fill.
"My heart is full of sadness after hearing that Major General Adefope is dead. He served NOC with sterling service. He was upright and believed in Nigeria and humanity.
"On behalf of NOC and the IOC family, I wish to express my deep sympathy to his family. We stand beside them. Hopefully, his family finds solace and peace with this message."
Tunde Popoola, NOC secretary, said on Monday in Lagos that the death of the body's former president was a surprise to the entire NOC family.
“It is very shocking, we have once again lost a rare gem in the world of sports because he was a man of integrity; he was someone we were all looking up to.
“In spite of his age, he remained strong and healthy,” Popoola added.
A lifelong sports fan, he played football, tennis and cricket, among others. Major General Adefope also served as the Church Warden at the Anglican Church of the Ascension, Opebi, Ikeja.
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