General Manager, Administration of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Chief Michael Ajayi, is now the Chief Patron of the Lagos State Football Referees Council (LFRC).
Ajayi’s investiture ceremony took place on Tuesday in his office at NPA headquarters, Marina, Lagos when officials of the LFRC led by their Chairman, Prince Adesegun Kosoko, visited the former NPA image maker.
Shortly after he was decorated with his new insignia of office, Ajayi said that he would work with the leadership of the LFRC to establish the first Referees Institute in Africa.
He said that the proposed institute, which will be located in the outskirts of Lagos, has become necessary as Nigeria boasts of over 300 referees who require regular trainings.
When established, renowned and retired referees from various parts of the world, according to him, will be invited to impact knowledge on practising and upcoming referees.
Ajayi promised to lead other Patrons of the LFRC to meet sports-loving governors and eminent individuals across the country to contribute to the fund with which the Referees Institute will be built. He expressed optimism that Lagos State Government will donate land for the project.
Ajayi, who is a retired referee under the Badagry Referees Society, expressed disappointment that Nigerian referees are not often appointed to officiate in international tournaments as a result of politics in the global referees circles.
Earlier in his speech, Chairman of the LFRC, Prince Adesegun Kosoko, said the choice of Chief Ajayi as the Chief Patron of the council was based on his “laudable input and impact in the affairs of referees across Nigeria and Lagos in particular.”
Kosoko said the LFRC, which has 10 referees societies across the state, has been empowered to recognise and honour distinguished members of the society “especially retired referees who have contributed immensely to the welfare of the council in the state.”
The investiture ceremony was witnessed by executive members of the LFRC and Commissioner of Police, Western Ports Police Command, Kayode Aderanti.