Founder, Sodje Sport Foundation, Ex Football Player and former Investment banker. Having returned from Nigeria to the UK in 1986 Stephen attended Crofton Park Secondary school until 1990 where he then moved onto his first football club as a trainee apprentice for Millwall FC. In 1992 he left Millwall for a short stay with Cardiff FC. Having left the professional game in 1994 he attended South Bank University to study BA Hons in Business Studies, graduating with honours in 1998, whilst continuing to play semi professional football for various clubs in England. In 2001 he was employed by Investment giants Bank of America on the foreign exchange trading floor where he worked for the next 4 years. In 2005 he moved to Bank of New York and then in 2007 he joined Barclays Capital as team leader on the foreign exchange desk dealing with derivatives products until February 2009 where he left to run the Sodje Sports Foundation on a full time basis.
Stephen revealed his reasons for starting the charity saying:
"The concept of the foundation is to provide a range of sporting opportunities for children and young people within our local community as well as in Africa. We aim to give these people the chance to achieve a healthy living and create a positive awareness amongst them. We feel it is our duty to try and make a change by giving back something to the community and let the young people of the Warri delta region know that with hard work and a strong belief, all their dreams can be turned into reality."
Bright Sodje JP
Born in England, Bright went back to Nigeria at early age in 1981 along with all his siblings. He returned to the UK to finish his education at Sheffield Hallam University, where he studied Combined Studies in Business Management. Bright is an accomplished sportsman who played at the highest level of Rugby, featuring in both Rugby Union and as a professional in Rugby League. This also included a cup final appearance at Wembley in the challenge cup. After retirement, Bright went on to be a very successful sport administrator in football management and property. As well as being a sports administrator Bright made time to serve the community by sitting as a Magistrate in Sheffield. Bright is also a member of various organisations, including the Commonwealth Magistrate and Judge Association, British and Nigerian Association, and Black Minority Ethnic Communities Independent Advisory Group for the South Yorkshire Police.
Clive Betts MP
Clive Betts MP began his political career in 1973 and in 1976 was elected as a member of Sheffield City Council. He became Leader of the Council in 1987, having served on the Housing and Finance committees for several years. He remained on the Council until his election as Labour Member of Parliament for Sheffield Attercliffe in 1992. Clive was appointed a Government Whip in 1997 a post he held until 2001.
Since becoming a Member of Parliament, Clive has been a key member on several Select Committees (Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) and is currently a member of the Select Committee for the Department for Communities and Local Government. His political interests include economic policy, local and regional government and housing. He is chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Urban Development and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Arms Length Management Organisations. Clive is also chair of the Netherlands Group in Parliament. Clive can frequently be found in the stands at Sheffield Wednesday FC and is Captain of the UK Parliament football club.
Ashley Carson - Sheffield Assay Master
The very first Sheffield Assay Master in 1773 was Daniel Bradbury, a Londoner who presided over the work of the Assay Office in a rented house on Norfolk Street. The Office only opened on Mondays and Thursdays, though Mr. Bradbury was allowed to open on a third day for private assays. Fast forward a couple of centuries and you will find that the current Assay Master, Ashley Carson, is a Sheffield man born and bred who holds the distinction of being the youngest Assay Master ever appointed. The organization he is responsible for is also much changed; in addition to the traditional disciplines of assay and hallmarking, Sheffield Assay Office offers a wide range of analytical tests and services which are in so much demand that Mr Bradbury's three day week would be out of the question!
Ashley learned the business of the Assay Office in the best way possible, by working his way through the organization - from sampler, marker, computer manager and general manager, before being appointed Assay Master 1993 at the age of only 32. He was the youngest person ever to have been selected for this important position. In 2007 he marked 30 years of service with the Assay Office, making him not only the youngest-ever Assay Master, but now the longest serving.
Under Ashley's leadership, Sheffield Assay Office has grown rapidly and its market share in hallmarking has risen dramatically. He has also been responsible for broadening the scope of the Assay Office work, having identified the opportunities for growth in analytical services. Ashley attributes this success to his desire to be of service to the consumer, the precious metal and jewellery trades, and his home city .
Victor – Nigeria Country Director
Mr victor eziowoma odairi was born on the 12th august 1973 into the family of Mr and deaconess elias oghenemarho odairi of ikpide irri, isoko south local government area of delta state, Nigeria. He attended alegbo primary school, effurun from 1981 -1986 and later proceed for his secondary education at urhobo college effurun from 1987-1992, where he obtained his secondary school leaving certificate. During his days in school, he was an active sportsman[footballer] and a goalkeeper, he kept for so many youth teams in his local community where he resides and this earned him a call to his house team[ mowoe house] in urhobo college, during the interhouse competition organized by the school, he kept for mowoe house and put up a good performance and this earned him a call into the school first team and later went on to represent the school in the intersecondary school competition and the inaugural edition of the governors cup for secondary schools in nigeria in 1990.
on completion of his secondary education in 1992, he joined a delta state league side[frankies fc] while with frankies, he formed an association known as association of youth soccer organisation, this association is saddled with the responsibility of organising sports meet, football tournament in the local community with focus on redirecting the mindset of the restive youth at the local level through sports, the association was able to meet its set target as raw talent where discovered, nurtured and were able to be placed in notable football clubs in the country, while some left the shores of the country for greener pastures abroad, this was made possible due to the support the association got from corporate bodies/organisation and philantropist, mr victor odairi was the director of organisation of the association from 1993-2003. in 1995, he was on duty for his club[frankies f c] when they won the delta state league trophy and placed fourth in the state challenge cup and later went on to represent the state in the coca-cola under 18 championship for nigerian state, due to his superlative performance in the championship,he got series of invitation from notable professional football clubs but a last minute knee injury cut short his dream/aspiration of making it to the top,but because of his unflinching passion for sports,he did not get discouraged and went on to join the nigerian football coaches association[delta chapter] and this brought him into fulltime management/development of sports.in 1997, he was appointed team secretary to futeb sportive football club and won the delta state league. in 1998 - 2000, he was appointed team secretary to the nigerian police football team, ekpan division, and on the 19th feb,2001,the uvwie local government noticed his contribution towards the development of sports in the locality and appointed him as the football development officer of the council and later on as team manager for uvwie local government council teams,junior and senior categories, with uvwie council teams he won the delta state league in 2001 and crowned champion in the arco petrochemical under 14 championship for local government councils in 2003, this position he held till 2005 when he was appointed as member of uvwie local government sports commitee till date. in 2006, in order to broaden his knowledge about sports administration, he got admission into the national institute for sports and got a certificate on sports management, it was on that same year the sodje sports foundation got him appointed as team manager to manage the delta dragon football club owned and sponsored by the sodje foundation, he also acts as consultant to so many clubsides which includes f c kestin cum jesse rovers football club, a national amateur side. with all these outstanding achievement recorded so far, the delta football association deem it fit and appointed him into one of its commitees[ commitee on youth football development ] where he has served as secretary till date.he is presently working as the director of programmes sodje sports foundation [nigeria] a charitable organisation based in the united kingdom and nigeria and was resently on a visit to sheffield wednesday football club community programme[ summer camp 2010] in england to learn best practice on how the football in the community project work inorder to replicate same in which the sodje sports foundation is putting in place in warri, delta state nigeria.
Brig. General (Chief) Dominic Obukadata ONEYA (rtd)
Brig. General (Chief) Dominic Obukadata ONEYA (rtd) was born on the 26th of May 1948 in Ajegunle, Lagos. He hails from Delta State, Ehwere – AGBARHO from UGHELLI North LGA.
He is married to Mrs. (Chief) Patricia Edirin Ojakovoh, born September 2, 1975 and blessed with 2 Sons and 4 Daughters.
Dominic Oneya began his early education at Baptist Primary School, Apapa - Lagos in 1954 - 1961. He thereafter enrolled into the Baptist Academy Yaba, Lagos in 1962 - 1967. Brig. General Dominic Oneya enlisted into the Nigerian Defense Academy (NDA) for the regular course 6, in May 1969 and was commissioned into the Infantry Corps in September 1971. He attended the University of Ife, Ile-Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1977 where he obtained a BSc Degree in Physical Education in 1980. He has attended much training from reputable military institutions in and outside Nigeria. Prominent among the courses are the Young Officers' Course Jaji, Kaduna 1972 and the Junior Division Staff College, Teshie, Accra - Ghana (1981 - 1982). He also attended Command and Staff College (CSC) 6, Jaji, Kaduna from 1983 - 1984. He was in Ontario, Canada between 1987 and 1988 for the Canadian Land Forces Staff College. He had held several command positions in the course of his Military Career. These command appointments include: Adjutant 31, Infantry Battalion (1971 - 1972) Instructor Divisional Training School, 4 Division (1972 - 1973). Instructor, Nigerian Army Military Training College, Jaji (1975 - 1977); Staff Officer Grade II Army Headquarters Lagos as well as Staff Officer Operations, United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) between 1980 and 1981.
Brig. General Oneya was also Commandant Nigerian Army Physical Training School, Zaria between 1985 - 1987, Directing Staff, Command and Staff College, Jaji as well as Directing Staff, Ghana Armed Forces College Teshie, Accra - Ghana (1989 - 1991); and Command Officer, 82 Motorized Infantry Brigade, Kano, between 1993 and 1995. Brig. General Oneya was Commanding Officer, 16 Battalion, Nigeria (ECOMOG) Contingent in Liberia. He returned to the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Nigerian Army, as Director of Administration between 1995 and July 1996 from where he was appointed Military Administrator of Kano State by the administration of Late Gen. SANI Abacha on August 22, 1996. After the death of General Abacha, Oneya was reassigned to Benue State, as the Military Administrator of the State. After he was retired from service by the OLUSEGUN Obasanjo Government, he was then appointed as the Chairman of the Nigerian Football Association (NFA) from 2000 – 2002.
While serving as Chairman NFA, he was appointed as a member of the FIFA Youth Organizing Committee for the Junior World Cup in 2000 – 2004 and is currently serving as a member of the CAF African Nations Cup from 2004, till date. His hobbies include; Football, Squash and Lawn Tennis.
Matt Barnett is a Senior Relationship Manager for the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Private Banking team specialising in personal banking for the affluent customer.He joined the RBS in 2003. Starting on the counter, Matt has worked his way up through the ranks to his current position within the highly skilled world of Private Banking.
Matt was born in Nottingham, where he attended Chilwell Comprehensive School and Broxtowe College. He read Law at De Montfort University in Leicester and joined the RBS after spending two years working in the Czech Republic and Malta.As well as his support for the SSF, Matt also works with the charity World Vision on the Niger project and personally sponsors a little girl.Matt is married with two children and lives in Nottinghamshire. He is a keen footballer and is a season ticket holder at his beloved Nottingham Forest.