Nigeria’s first Olympic Games individual Gold Medalist, Chioma Ajunwa has commended the Nigerian Minister of Youths and Sports Development Sunday Dare, for honouring and providing support to the families of sports icons in the country.
Chioma Ajunwa who is an Assistant Commissioner of Police in Lagos, Nigeria, commended the Minister for his foresightedness in reaching out to the mothers of late football icons Sam Okwaraji and Rashidi Yekini.
Sunday Dare reached out to the ex internationals’ mothers and offered them cash gifts and food items, and put them on a monthly allowance.
Minister Dare kicked off the campaign when he sent representatives to reach out to the late Rashidi Yekini’s mother, Alhaja Sikiratu.
Yekini is considered a Nigerian football legend after scoring the country’s first ever World Cup goal in the 1994 edition of the competition, and also being the highest goalscorer for Nigeria with 37 goals.
Four days later, the Minister extended the gesture to reach late Samuel Okwaraji’s mother, Mrs Janet Okwaraji. Samuel Okwaraji died on August 12, 1989 while playing a World Cup qualifying match against Angola at the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos.
The Minister also reached out to 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.
Reacting to these gestures, Ajunwa encouraged the minister 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 perfo.
“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,” Ajunwa said.
“His antecedents in the past 8 months have left no one in doubt as to his mission, trajection 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,” Ajunwa added.
“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.”
Ajunwa is very excited and looking forward to an improved and amazing future for sports in Nigeria.
“The Minister has done well by bringing 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,” Ajunwa added.
“Our men and women athletes will be given a sense of belonging and their patriotic disposition will lead to greater laurels in the country.”