By Anietie Iyoho
At 60, Bash Ali, Nigeria’s oldest boxer has made his name in the ring. But yesterday in Abuja, he literally took the fight to the Sports ministry and again, asked for the immediate resignation of the top echelon of the ministry.
“They’ve purposely crippled my plans to stage a Guinness World Record Championship. This fight is going to rake in $48million. Al-Hassan Yakmut (NSC DG) must account for the N50million Nexim Bank gave for the fight,’’ roared Ali.
Ali spoke on why he opted to address the media at the ministry. ‘’We’re taking the fight here.
“NBB of C is part of the fight; I’m not running a one-man show. Apart from glory and fame, there’s the monetary gains. We’re not asking government for money but the enabling environment. Everything was going according to plans after the government set up the LOC until Minister Solomon Dalung came into office. Today, the LOC for the fight is respectfully requesting for the N50million take off grant out of which the NSC has paid N45,000. The minister has messed up a lot of things.
“That’s why we are asking he must go. He’s not fit to be minister. Solomon Dalung must go. The Federal government must ask Nexim Bank for the money that was set aside for this fight. I want the sports minister, Permanent secretary Christian Ohaa, the DG of the Sports Commission and Director of Grassroots Sports to immediately resign or step aside so they can clear the allegation of corruption I have leveled against them.’’
The boxing legend said he was not too old tao crave to enter the boxing ring once more.
“I’m 60 years old. Everybody wants to fight me because they see me as an old man who would be easy to beat. That’s why I have left my beads to grow white. When they come here, they would see Bendel Insurance in action.
The world cruiserweight boxing champion said he has been offered 35million euros to bring this fight to Germany.
“Our government cannot continue to kill our dreams. It’s a Nigerian project and it must happen in our shores in my lifetime. I’m still fit to fight. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t womanise and I don’t do drugs. Before I step into the ring, I would be tested by doctors of the World Boxing Organisation, WBO.
“The delay is a blessing in disguise. The more delay the bigger the dream. People will want to see an old man from Africa fighting a young America. In one night, the fight will generate close to $1billion.