Nigeria’s veteran boxer and goodwill ambassador, Mr. Bash Ali yesterday accused the federal government of frustrating his lofty ambition to become the world’s oldest boxer and fighter ever recorded in the Guinness World Record as it had failed to assist him with $30 million (N4.74 billion).
Ali at a press conference alleged that the Federal Ministry of Sports had been his major obstacle since he embarked on the project on November 9, 2006 only to be frustrated and humiliated by the Minister of Sports, Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi.
According to Ali the presidency approved the money for the fight on November 2, 2012, but he is yet to receive the money.
Ali said: “On November 9, 2006, the Bash Ali Boxing Project was inaugurated by the Federal Government of Nigeria of Nigeria, through the National Sports Commission, NSC, by the then Minister/Chairman, Hon. Bala Ka’oje who is now the current National Treasurer of the Poeples Democratic Party, PDP. The Local Organising Committee, LOC, was mandeated to successfully organise the hosting of the first Guinness Worls Record fight to hold on the soil of Africa in Nigerria.
“The LOC was never funded by the government. I did all including but not limited to cal and international trips, hotel bills, stationeries, and others.
“May 29, 2007 till date, I have been struggling with corrupt government officials at the National Sports Council, NSC, to0 keep my dream alive, which attracted the attention of one of the most respected newspapers in the world, including New York Times. In February 2010, I wrote a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan to complain about the corrupt government officers at the NSC.
“In February 2011, after facing unlimited frustration in Nigeria, I went to Libya to appeal to the late Muammar Gaddaffi to promote the fight in Libya but a couple of days later, trouble started in Libya and the rest is history.”
Assaulted by Minister
Ali alleged that the Minister of Sports, Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi ordered his men who assaulted him at the Ministry of Sports in Abuja. He also stated that the minister had earlier demanded part of the money allegedly approved by presidency.
“Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi went on to tell me that for the project to hold I have to give up part of the money to make happy the people that I have offended. I told him that this is a Nigerian project and that since I have met with Mr. President and he has endorsed it that nobody can stop it.”
“On June 6, 2013, I got an opportunity to once again meet with Mr. President and to give him an update. He was shocked that the committee he asked to be setup for the private sector to fund the GWR was yet to be. He asked the Minister/Chairman why? An hour later I went to see the Minister /Chairman at his office and he ended up telling his security men to beat me up.
The embarrassing video is on YouTube and has been watched by over 50,000 people around the world,” Ali claimed.