“In Nigeria, we allow corruption to kill people’s dreams because we give sycophants opportunity to be in positions of power. Nigeria is a dream killing nation. I pity our youths. Is this country really encouraging patriotism?”,
Nigerians have been speaking on the lingering feud between African Boxing Ambassador, Bashiru Lawrence Ali, OON and the Minister of Youth and Sports, Chief Sunday Dare.
The feud became a piece of public knowledge last week when the World Boxing Federation (WBF) cruiserweight champion, Bash Ali wrote a strong-worded letter to the Minister and copied relevant authorities in the corridor of power including the President, Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice President over what the boxer described as a deliberate and conscious plan by Sunday Dare to thwart his dream of fighting a Guinness World Record Boxing Championship in Nigeria.
P.M. EXPRESS reports that if the Guinness World Record Boxing Championship could see the light of the day, three things would happen on that night, Bash Ali will be the oldest man on earth to step on a boxing ring. Secondly, if he wins the fight, he will also be the oldest man on earth to win a world title, and more importantly, the feat will bring Nigeria into the limelight again amidst all the negativity coming out of the country, the focus of the world will be on Nigeria, as both the name of the boxer and that of his country will enter the Guinness Book of World Records.
Bash Ali in the letter alleged that corruption and bad administration are being responsible for the Minister’s failure to heed to Presidential Directive on the proposed fight in Nigeria. In his response, the Sports Minister says Bash Ali defamed his character through the contents of the public letter and he has since instructed his lawyer to slam a N5billion suit on the world champion.
Some Nigerians who spoke on the issue with P.M.EXPRESS during the week expressed their disappointment on the twist of the event. Some of them blamed the federal government for not showing serious concerns and support with things that will not only bring honour to the country but also elevate the status of the citizens.
“On whose behalf and interest are these politicians being elected and appointed into offices?,” Oluwole Akinade asked rhetorically. “What I discovered in Nigerian leaders is that immediately they are elected or appointed into offices, they turn themselves to ‘gods’, forgetting that they are in that offices in trust for the people and they can only be in that offices for a very short time after which they will become ordinary citizens, while others will come back to seek for the votes of the very same people he or she dispersed when in office.
“It is very shameful that Bash Ali has to be on this fight for so long a time. Is Sunday Dare going to spend his own money on hosting this fight? Instead of him responding to the pertinent issue raised in Bash Ali’s letter, his response was a libel suit of N5 billion. I laugh when I read the letter and the Minister’s response. It goes on to show that Nigeria has entered one chance with the kind of leaders ruling us. Anyway, I am waiting to see how this drama will play out,” Akinade said.
To Biodun Oluwole, the treatment received by the boxer, a national honour awardee, shows that Nigeria is not worth dying for.
“How I wish Bash Ali had opted to fight in another country and win the fight, I think by then Nigeria will know that he exists. Anthony Joshua defied all odds to chart a path of honour for himself, we can see how Nigeria is celebrating him today. It is so sad,” Oluwole submitted.
Chukwu Oge, who said he is a long time fan of Bash Ali told this newspaper of a story he read on social media quoting the New York Times that the Nigerian boxer is campaigning in futility for a bout that will rewrite world history.
“In Nigeria, we allow corruption to kill people’s dreams because we give sycophants opportunity to be in positions of power. Nigeria is a dream killing nation. I pity our youths. Is this country really encouraging patriotism?”, Oge rhetorically asked.
Temitope Odunayo wanted the court to hear the minister’s prayers against Bash Ali’s letter, adding that as a citizen, he too has his right and whenever he feels aggrieved he can seek redress in the court of law.
“In my opinion, we should let the court decide if truly the contents of the letter is malicious and libelous. One thing I know is that the two parties have their points to prove and prosperity is there to judge both the Minister and Bash Ali. It is so sad what is happening in this country where you cannot fulfill your dreams,” Odunayo said.
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