By Amaechi Agbo
There is a general perception that Nigeria governments at all levels do not have regards nor plans for their past and most times, present sports men and women who did and or are doing the nation proud in their various sporting endeavours.
Sports men and women are among the people who have elevated Nigeria’s name high and above others in the comity of nations via their commitment, dedication to national calls.
Regrettably, when these noble men and women retire from active sports, they are left uncared for. Many of them after retirement pass through a lot to survive. Many of them too, despite adoring the national colour, were unable to make it to stardom particularly financially.
Therefore, it will not be difficult to see them living from hand to mouth with some having nothing to rely on after retirement. It is to your tent oh Israel.
While few of them could be blamed for their present predicament, perhaps for their inability to save for the rainy day while the sky was sunny, however, not all who find themselves in precarious financial situations could be blamed for such.
This is the case of former U-20 female national team goalkeeper, Aluko Grace Bidemi. Grace played for various clubs in the country including the national team but as a retired athlete, she, like others, was forgotten.
Recently Mrs Aluko sent out Save My Soul message to Nigerians and the world to come to her aid. She is suffering cancer of the breast for more than two years now. She has been managing the ill health but when it drained her savings, he cried out for help.
And not unexpectedly, Nigerians heeded her cry, private individuals/organisation, came to her aid. Unfortunately what she has gotten thus far was not enough to take care of the medical expenses required to treat the cancer once and for all.
In July, members of the National Assembly from the lower chamber, the House of Representatives, debated her health situation, more than 7 weeks after, nothing has been heard from the lawmakers. This is a health issue that requires urgent financial assistant and government intervention.
The House of Representatives members also directed the federal ministry of Youth and Sports to immediately respond to Mrs Aluko’s cry, yet, nothing was heard from either. Prompting the question, have the House of Representatives and ministry of youth and sports left Grace Aluko Bidemi to die?
In a statement made available to Peoples Daily as well as document by Grace’s brother, he noted that following the public declaration by the House of Representatives to take care of Grace’s health issue, private individuals/organisations have stopped rendering help.
The statement reads: “The picture and the medical report you are seeing belongs to Aluko Grace Bidemi, formal Rivers Angels goalkeeper who has been battling with breast cancer for the past two years secretly.
“She made this public because of her inability to fund the medical bills only few months ago asking people for help which some good individuals were responding until the House of Rep came in and then asked the Ministry for sport to take charge financially and this was televised and also published in newspaper which led to the withdrawal of good individuals who would have helped in their own little ways.
“The reason why we are still typing this message now is that, she has not heard from any of this people (House of Rep, ministry for sports) and she’s going through pains coupled with the fact that delay causes more complications.
“Please help save Aluko Grace Bidemi’s life in any way you can she needs us now pleeease…”
It is therefore very instructive that corporate entities, organisations as well as governments should come to the aid of Aluko Grace Bidemi. She served this nation in her capacity and deserves our collective love and national care.
This paper does not believe that the federal Government under President Mohammadu Buhari has abandoned Mrs Aluko to her fate, it is therefore on this basis that appeal is hereby made to the federal government to act fast and save Mrs Grace Aluko Bidemi’s life.
Nigerians are known for being their brothers’ and sister’s keepers; Grace Aluko’s health issue should not be an exception.