Stories by Amaechi Agbo
Nigerian’s first and only individual Olympic Gold Medallist, Chioma Ajunwa-Opara has poured out great encomium on the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare for remembering and providing succour to the mothers of late ex internationals in the country.
Chioma Ajunwa-Opara who is an Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP commended the minister for his foresightedness in reaching out to the aged mothers of late football icons and legends Sam Okwaraji and Rashidi Yekini.
The Minister of Youths and Sports Development, few days ago reached out to the ex-internationals’ mothers and offered them cash gifts and food items.
The Minister, on Wednesday, May 6th kicked off the campaign to reach out to these aged mothers when he sent representatives to late Rashidi Yekini’s mother, Alhaja Sikiratu, offered her Ramadan gifts of N50,000 and also put her on a monthly financial support of N10,000.
Yekini is considered Nigeria’s football legend after scoring the country’s first ever World Cup goal in 1994 World Cup fiesta, and also being the highest goalscorer in the country with 37 goals and winning the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations where he also went home with the Most Valuable Player accolade.
Four days later, the minister extended the gesture to reach late Samuel Okwaraji’s mother, Mrs Janet Okwaraji.
The minister who was also represented made a presentation of N50,000 as well as food items such as rice, semovita and beverages to the aged mother of Samuel Okwaraji.
Samuel Okwaraji died on August 12, 1989 while playing a World Cup qualifying match against Angola at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
Not yet done, the Minister on May 11th visited the mother of late Nigerian athlete, Sunday Bada, Mrs Fumilayo Bada.
Sunday Bada was a member of the 4×400 relay team that won silver for Nigeria at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
During the visit, the Minister presented N50,000 to Bada’s mother with some food items and beverages.
Reacting to these gestures, the First Black woman Olympic Gold medal winner commended the minister for his great strides and encouraged him not to lose track of best efforts at supporting past legends and heroes of Nigeria sports and further encouraging the up and coming for maximum performance.
“I have said it before that the emergence of the current Honourable Minister of Sports, Mr Sunday Dare at this point in time in our sports is Messianic.
“His antecedents in the past 8 months have left no one in doubt as to his mission, trajectory and vision for sports in Nigeria.
“Apart from remembering the ex-internationals in the country, he has also engaged them along with bringing the private sector into sports management with a view to repositioning sports in Nigeria.
“The Minister reaching out to the families of these former sports men in the country is not only commendable but also the right way to go. When you give the retired or dead athletes desired National recognition for their service to our Motherland, you are not only encouraging the active athletes to put in their best, you are also indirectly motivating other young Nigerians on the need to take on and build a career in sports.
“The Minister has done well by bringing in everybody on board. Of course he cannot do everything at once but from what he has done so far, I have no doubt that in the near future our sports will return to its years of glory. Our men and women athletes will be given a sense of belonging and their patriotic disposition will lead to greater laurels in the country,” the former Super Falcons player said.