“I can confirm now that Deacon Ayo Ositelu is indeed dead,” says family friend, Kayode Tijani, also a popular Nigerian sports journalist. “I just spoke to his Wife. He was watching TV with her and next (thing) he was dead. I am in shock.”
Widely known as The Arena (the name he chose for his popular newspaper column), Ositelu’s last major public outing was as the compere during the November 2, 2012 exhibition match between the Williams sisters (Serena & Venus) at the Lagos Tennis Club, South-West Nigeria.
It was the first time of the legendary tennis sisters in Nigeria and Ositelu, a tennis aficionado, did a good job compering the event.
Deacon is arguably one of the most recognizable sports personalities in Nigeria, in numerous capacities – Sports journalism as former Group Sports Editor of The Punch (1982-1984) and later Editor Sunday Punch (1984-87); Chairman of Lagos State Lawn Tennis Association (1992-1999); member, Nigeria Lawn Tennis Association (1984-89); founding consultant (Publicity) sub-committee of LSSEF with Mr. Bode Emmanuel as Main LSSEF FUND Chairman; National Sports Merit Award recipient in 2003 for Outstanding Sports Journalism (Print Media); Executive Chairman, Ejigbo (LCDA (2003-2008); Author of the evergreen Sports Column titled ‘THE ARENA’ in the Punch, National Concord, The Guardian (1981 till date); member, Federal Government Delegation to the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games; International Sports Broadcaster, Analyst – Newspaper, TV & Radio (1980 till date); Consultant of the Editorial Board of The Guardian Newspaper – 2001 till date.”