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Bash Ali architect of his misfortune —Sports Minister’s spokesman

By News Express on 10/06/2013

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Controversial Nigerian boxer Bash Ali has himself to blame for his travails, including his ordeal in the hands of policemen guarding the country’s Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi, the minister’s spokesman has said.

Responding to reports of the alleged rough-handling of the former world cruiserweight champion, the minister’s spokesman Julius Ogunro said yesterday on Facebook: “Bash Ali forces himself on people. He appeared to have messed up his life and wants to impose himself on people. He was rude to the Minister and insulted everyone in the office. Rude. That’s not how to get favours from government.”

Ali had on Thursday caused a stir in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, accosting President Goodluck Jonathan and Minister Abdullahi out of desperation to get government sponsorship for his bid to bring to Nigeria a fight he hopes would make him the oldest world boxing champion in history.

The 57 years old Ali could not restrain himself when he sighted President Jonathan at the Abuja National Stadium where the Nigerian leader was to inaugurate ‘Rhythm ‘N’ Play, a campaign to get Nigerian youths to engage in sporting activities. He caused a commotion when Jonathan’s aides and security men tried to prevent him from speaking with the President but got what he wanted when Jonathan advised them to allow him. After disclosing his mission, Jonathan directed Ali to see Minister Abdullahi for further discussion on the matter.

However, Ali was not that fortunate when he tried to see Abdullahi at a private luncheon for celebrities as part of the ‘Rhythm ‘N’ Play launch. The short video of how he was physically bundled out of the venue by the minister’s aides has gone viral on social media.

Before Thursday’s incident, the ageing boxer who was previously based in the USA before returning home some years ago had camped at the National Headquarters of Nigeria’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the same purpose of getting government support for his proposed fight.

He is also known for using high profile government functions such as the Good Governance Tour to publicly lament his ordeal and appeal for government assistance to realise his ambition. News Express reported on one of such occasions last September 24 in a story entitled “Drama as Bash Ali rocks government forum in Abuja”. Below is an excerpt of the story:

There was a mild drama this afternoon as the FCT Abuja leg of the maiden National Good Governance Tour wound up with a Town Hall Meeting at Transcorp Hotel in the Nigerian capital.

At the well-attended forum, former world cruiserweight boxing champion Bash Ali was about to be denied the opportunity of speaking but insisted, whereupon FCT Minister, Alhaji Bala Mohammed, who had taken the microphone to respond to questions and observations, ordered that Ali (showed in photo) should be allowed to speak.

On taking the mic, Ali lamented that he had to fight before he could be allowed to speak at a forum being organised in his own country.

He then went ahead to recount how he brought glory to Nigeria through his boxing exploits and lamented how officialdom has been frustrating his quest to bring a fight to Nigeria that would enable him to become the oldest man in history to become a world boxing champion.

Mr. President minuted on my letter and directed that I should be assisted to organise the fight. I wrote to the ministry (of Federal Capital Territory, FCT) in 2010 but two years later, I am being told that the file is missing,” the former world cruiserweight champion lamented.

Responding, FCT Minister Mohammed assured Ali that they would sit down after the forum to sort out the issue.

Mr. Labaran Maku, the Information and Communications Minister, who is organising the tour, also assured Ai that Nigeria appreciates the honour he has brought to the country through his illustrious boxing career.

The proposed fight which Ali has spent several years seeking to actualise will cost millions of dollars to stage, which is hard to come by in a county a majority of whose 167 million citizens live below the poverty line.

•Photo shows Bash Ali.

Source News Express

Posted 10/06/2013 9:47:45 PM

 

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