International Master Odion Aikhoje is celebrating the 10th year anniversary of his gold medal performance at the Elista Olympiad in 1998. This was a crowning achievement for Africa’s most populous nation, but Aikhoje had to leave before receiving the medal at the closing ceremony. What happened to his medal thereafter is the subject of fierce debate. What is certain is that Aikhoje has never laid eyes on his medal. The details have been covered in a number of fora.
Attempts have been made to retrieve the medal from the then-Chairman Theophilus Caifas who held it ransom because monies were not reimbursed from the Sports Ministry who was preparing to present the medal to a deserving Aikhoje. Ten years later, the medal has not been recovered and it turns out that Caifas claims to have misplaced it! Even national hero Wole Soyinka could not resolve the issue prior to Dresden. Thus, the Nigeria Diaspora will present Aikhoje with a commemorative plaque for his gold medal performance at the Dresden games. International Coordinator Kunle Elegbede stated, “This time, it is from Nigeria to a chess player and we refuse to forget this young man’s achievement.” Elegbede has sent the plaque to Dresden (since his visa has not been approved yet) and it has been requested that FIDE present the honors.
Congratulations IM Aikhoje!