GWR Fight: Bash Ali accuses Sports Minister of being economical with the truth

..Calls for his resignation, wants allegation against him investigated

Former WBF Cruiserweight champion, Bashi Ali ( OON) who is planning to have a Guinness Book of World Record Fight has accused the Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh of being economical with the truth for denying that he has never met him more than once nor accepted any gratification from him to facilitate government hosting of the fight.

It would be recalled that last month, the Minister in a press conference he organised accused Bash Ali of organising a campaign of calumny against him with a trending video and an open letter to the President alleging that he demanded the another $1m ( One Million Dollars) from him inorder to endorse his plan to stage the oldest boxing fight in Nigeria; saying that the intention of the internationally acclaimed boxer was to destroy his integrity as well as blackmail him.

At the same press conference, the Minister noted that he has only met the champion once in the presence of his aides few days after he assumed office and denied ever asking for or accepting any gratification from him.

He ended the conference by giving Bash Ali one week to tender an unreserved apology to him failure which he will have no other option than to approach the Courts to seek redress and claim damages.

But in his own press conference held in Abuja on Wednesday, May, 22, 2024, the champion lamented that for 17 years, Nigeria has failed him because of his stand against corruption even as he insisted that the Minister mislead the Nigerian public by denying having series of meetings with him and collecting the above mentioned money and still demanding another one noting that the honourable thing for him to have done was to have resigned from office and ask for forgiveness as is done in developed countries of the world.

Speaking at the well attended press briefing, Bash Ali explained that the fight would have been organised but for corrupt officials in government who were bent on collecting huge amount of money from him before final approval would be given for the fight to hold.

According to him, three Local Organising Committees ( LOC) have been set up in the past by former Nigerian Presidents for the fight but people in government like the present Minister of Sports worked against the fight holding because of their personal interest and corruption in government.

” Those in government like Minister Enoh because of their selfish interest and corruption are working against the fight holding.

” You’re aware that the first LOC for the fight was inaugurated by then President Olusegun Obasanjo on November,9, 2006 and on January, 7, 2014, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan inaugurated another one when Bolaji Abdullahi was the Sports Minister while the immediate past President, Mohammadu Buhari also set up another one on May, 21, 2019 with the private sector to fund the fight.

” And to make things faster and better, the office of the President of Nigeria and Chairmen of Sports Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives were members of the LOC.

He further explained that at a stage during the tenure of Solomon Dalung as Minister, his aides had an altercation with his group which made him institute a N28 million Fundamental Human right suit against the government after which the government went on appeal.

Bash Ali went on to explain that when Sunday Dare came in as Sports Minister, another sophisticated line of corruption and impunity took over with Sunday Dare extorting N13 million from him out of the judgement fee of N28 million which he tagged ‘recharge card’ money and demanded for 50/50 share of the Pay Per View Television revenue ( PPVTV) which he turned down and wrote several letters of complaint to both President Buhari and his Chief of Staff Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.

” It’s important to note that when Sunday Dare could not get his 50/50 PPVTV demand and despite the letter of guarantee from the Federal Government, he now wrote a letter to me which he copied the World body informing them that Nigeria is not involved in the historic fight which by implication means that the three LOC inaugurated by the Federal Government and letter of guarantee for safety of boxers that will come to Nigeria are all fraud.

He lamented that the letter from Sunday Dare to the World Boxing Body, purportedly from the Federal Government, caused him his professional licence and untold hardship and this prompted him to institute a case against the Federal Government in Suit No FHC/ ABJ/CS/1231/2021 at the Federal High Court, Abuja which matter came up on May, 20 this year.

Bash Ali noted that since August, 24, 2023, Minister Enoh has refused to summon a meeting of the LOC, reply the two letters he sent to him to that effect nor discuss the law suit against the Ministry and the Federal Government rather he minuted on his letter and sent it to a wrong place; Nigeria Boxing Federation just to frustrate him.

He said he has evidence of all the text messages and conversations he had with the Minister who for eight months told him to be patient but that if he can cough out $1million, a meeting of the LOC will be possible and his file sent to the appropriate place.

The champion also faulted the claim by the Minister that he wanted $50m from the Federal Government; saying that the fight is private sector driven and there’s no way he could have requested for such a huge amount of money.

On what the country will benefit from the fight, he explained that it will be the most lucrative in the history of Pay Per View Television revenue in Africa in general and Nigeria in particular.

“Part of the profit from the Pay Per View Television revenue will be paid to the Federal Government in taxes; five sports academies with Olympic size swimming pools and a sports equipment manufacturing company will be built across Nigeria at the rate of $20 million each.

” These establishments will help to create jobs for Nigerians as well as an avenue for the country’s athletes to exhibit their talents and earn big time money in the process and also boost tourism in the country.

Bash Ali appealed to Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the spirit of his ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’ to use his good offices and set up a high powered investigative panel to look into his allegations against the Minister. Direct the Presidency to take over the hosting of the historic fight and have an out of Court settlement of the suit against the Federal Government.

He also wants the President to once again permit him to present the historic fight souvenir to him.

Apart from this, he said that some questions which he wants the Minister to answer are whether both of them did not meet in Lagos and flew to Abuja together on Monday 20, 2023 on Peace Airline Flight 7124.

And that the Minister should be sincere and bold enough to tell the whole world whether they did not discuss the $ 1million USD bribe and he told him to be patient that once the fight holds, that he’ll get clean money which will be more than the $ 1 million bribe he’s demanding.

The ageless boxer finally noted that he regretted making Tee Shirts with the Minister’s image and his own with the inscription, ‘Join the Minister and Knockout Corruption in Sports’ because he has turned the government’s Renewed Hope Agenda’ to Renewed Hopelessness Agenda.

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker