Contrary to rumours making the rounds in some sections of the society that the late Head Coach of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi, has no building in his home town, Illah in Oshimili North Local Government Council, the late Coach has a house inside a large expanse of land.
This discovery was made on Wednesday by journalists who accompanied the Delta State Commissioner of Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah, on a visit to the compound to see the extent of the ongoing renovation works preparatory to his burial later this month.
Mr. Ukah, who was conducted round inside the building and other parts of the compound by the eldest brother of deceased, Mr. Sylvester Keshi, and a nephew, Mr. Eboka Ofuonye, disclosed that the visit was to see the extent of renovation done as the burial date in Illah is around the corner.
The Information Commissioner said that the state government is assisting the family to see that the compound is put in proper shape considering the number and calibre of very important persons who will come to pay their last respect to the fallen hero.
The burial ceremonies of late Stephen Keshi will begin in Abuja on July 26, 2016, with interment taking place in Illah on the 29th and outing service on July 31, 2016.
Recall that it had been widely reported in several top news media, particularly online and tabloid, that family members of Late Stephen Keshi, former Super Eagles Head Coach, had cried out over the failure of the Delta State Government to fulfill the promise of building a house made to Keshi, three years after.
Immediate past Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, had on Thursday, February 14, 2013 during a reception in Asaba for the victorious national team which won the African Cup of Nations in South Africa, promised that the state government would build a house for Keshi.
The genesis of the Stephen Keshi house matter may actually have dated back to the eve of the 2013 African Nations cup final between Nigeria and Burkina Faso on February 10, 2013, when the Delta born coach had threatened the Nigerian Football Federation [NFF] to give him his flight ticket so that he could return home because of perceived plans to sack him as the early matches did not give so much hope for the country to emerge victorious.
‘The most important thing is what I’m doing. If back home they don’t like what I’m doing well you can’t force someone to love you. “If I win the cup I may pack and leave, I’m a professional coach, Nigeria is where my heart is and if there’s any more offer out there….,” Keshi had said in an interview just before the final match.
But as luck would have it, the Super Eagles won the Africa Nations Cup of Nations and Stephen Keshi, who was reportedly owed several months salaries and had not been given his mandatory accommodation as Super Eagles Coach, by the NFF, got 10 million naira from President Goodluck Jonathan while all others got five million naira each. He was also in addition, decorated with the National Award of CON and reportedly allocated an official parcel of land in Abuja while his players got the MON National Award, along with cash donations.
When he arrived Delta with the victorious Deltans in the National Team, the then Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, also named the Asaba Township stadium, which had not been completed after Stephen Keshi and the former contractor who had dilly-dallied with the project over the years was terminated and a new contractor had been told to complete the stadium, named after Stephen Keshi within six months.
In addition, Keshi was also promised a duplex, to be built by the state government and given to him in appreciation of his effort at putting Delta state once again as a leader on the sporting Map of Nigeria and the African continent.
Sadly, the stadium was not completed before Uduaghan left office two years later, in 2015.
Stephen Keshi, the coach from Illah, Oshimili North Local Council of Delta State, who was popularly hailed and addressed as ‘the big boss’, died on June 7, 2016 in Benin, Edo State. The only property the famous footballer had in Delta State is his own personal house, which he had built by himself and which the present Delta State Government is now assisting the family to renovate and give it a new look, in preparation for the burial rites, befitting the heroic status and stature of Stephen Keshi, according to the state Information Commissioner.