VERSATILE sports journalist, researcher and archivist extraordinaire Kayode Tijani is dead. He died on Wednesday, 7 February, 2024 at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja after a protracted illness. He was 55 years old.
Aliu Kayode Tijani started out as a youth prodigy with an insatiable passion for collecting and preserving sports records and memorabilia; as well as meeting and taking memorable pictures with famous sports personalities.
He went on to study at the Nigeria Institute of Journalism (NIJ) in Lagos and effectively began his sports journalism career as a reporter with Complete Communications Limited, publishers of Complete Football magazine and Complete Sports newspapers in the late 1980s. He cut his teeth under the tutelage of sports journalism icons Dr. Emmanuel Sunny Ojeagbase, Frank Ilaboya and Dr. Mumini Alao.
Thereafter, he served for many years as the pioneer sports editor of FAME magazine, a society publication, where he again worked with top entertainment journalists Femi Akintunde-Johnson (FAJ), Kunle Bakare and Mayour Akinpelu. On leaving FAME magazine, Kayode traveled to England where he was a correspondent and sports presenter for an Afrocentric television station, BEN TV.
On his return to Nigeria, Kayode set up a private media outfit, ‘Sport Xclusive,’ which he ran as a television sports analyst, producer and visual content consultant. He was reknowned for his rich library of historical videos on Nigerian and African sports heroes and heroines which he put at the disposal of government establishments and private companies.
On several occasions, he worked with major television stations including the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) and the African Independent Television (AIT) to cover international sports events by providing rare video footage to enhance their presentations. He also collaborated with private broadcast companies to produce TV commercials and sports documentaries.
In 1995, Kayode teamed up with two other colleagues, Ademola Olajire and Adeola Fashola to launch ‘Sportlight,’ a daily sports newspaper, which however was rested after only a few weeks. Amongst several volunteering works on national service, he was a member of the Dr. Amos Adamu-led Organising Committee of the 8th All-Africa Games, “COJA Abuja 2003” hosted by Nigeria. Kayode was widely travelled and covered several major tournaments including the FIFA World Cup, the Olympic Games, the Africa Cup of Nations and the Commonwealth Games. He was well known by top Nigerian sports personalities many of whom he interviewed.
At the advent of social media in Nigeria, Kayode was very active in circulating timely sports news and information to his numerous followers on Facebook and “X” (formerly Twitter). Unfortunately, he had to scale down his social media activities on medical grounds when he took ill before he finally passed away on Wednesday.
Aliu Kayode Tijani will be buried according to Muslim rites on Thursday, 8 February, 2024 at Atan Cemetery in Yaba, Lagos at 2.00pm. He is survived by his wife, children, siblings and other relatives.