9th May, 2014
Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR
President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces
Federal Republic of Nigeria
RE: BASH ALI GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS FIGHT; CALL TO PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN TO INTERVENE
The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) is a group of over twenty (20) civil-society, community-based and other non-governmental organizations with the objective of fighting corruption and corrupt persons by any means possible at all levels in Nigeria.
We are aware that Champ Bash Ali, a World Boxing Federation Champion had approached Your Excellency to get the Federal Government to support him in staging a Guinness Book of World Record bout. The boxing champion had his first encounter with you, on 7th of June, 2013 at the National Stadium, Abuja when you were inaugurating a youth campaign, Rhythm ‘n’ Play, aimed at enhancing mass youth participation in sports activities and age grade competition.
It is also a well-known fact that Champ Bash Ali had staged a protest on May 20, 2013, at the National Headquarters of the Peoples Democratic Party in Abuja in pursuit of his bid. Respite, however, came his way when a Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the proposed fight was inaugurated on your directives, on Tuesday, 7th January, 2014 by the Honourable Minister of Sports/Chairman, National Sports Commission.
The Local Organising Committee, which drew its membership from the public and private sectors, has representatives from the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) and Bank of Industry (BOI). The committee was given the mandate of ensuring the successful holding of the fight and its Terms of Reference include:
a. Galvanising all sources of support and funding through marketing and promotion to meet the requirements of protocol, logistics and event management.
b. Engaging the services of credible promoters, and
c. Undertaking the packaging of the fight in an efficient, effective, transparent and accountable manner.
Meanwhile, a meeting was held between the National Sports Commission and Bash Ali’s World Guinness Book of Records Fight Project on Wednesday, 27th April, 2013 where it was highlighted that an initial sum of One million dollars (US$1m) would be paid to the International Boxing Union to enable Nigeria acquire the hosting right, and another sum of Twenty-nine million dollars (US$29m) would be made available as boxers purse and for satellite hook-up. It was resolved at the meeting that the Nigerian Export-Import Bank and the Bank of Industry would be the two major sponsors of the project.
However, it is worthy of note that despite all the efforts put together by many notable Nigerians to ensure the successful holding of the much-acclaimed title fight, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Export-Import Bank, Mr. Robert Orya has been frustrating the effort of the famous boxer by his refusal to provide the necessary financial support to kick-start the arrangement on the securing the hosting right, even though his Bank of Industry counterpart, Ms. Evelyn Oputu, has exhibited appreciable level of cooperation.
As a matter of fact, Mr. Orya has exhibited inordinate arrogance claiming that he doesn’t have the mandate of Your Excellency to support the Project despite being part of the several meetings called by the LOC. Even if the mandate is not direct, we want to believe that once such a recommendation has been made, as was given to the Local Organising Committee, of which NEXIM Bank is a member; it is as good as an instruction from Your Excellency which must be implemented to the letter. Besides, if the support doesn’t come from them, where else will the celebrated boxer get it?
As a Coalition that has the best interest of Nigeria at heart, we hereby appeal to Your Excellency to prevail on Mr. Robert Orya to give Champ Bash Ali the requested financial support by releasing the initial sum of US$1m needed to secure the fight for him to actualise his dream as one of the oldest boxers to be involved in a title fight. It must be reiterated that Your Excellency’s intervention is needed urgently as the Champion is only cashing on his personal credibility that earned him favourable consideration from the International Boxing Union for further extension of the date to pay the hosting fee that ought to have lapse since April 30, 2014.
Kindly note that our dear country Nigeria needs this proposed fight because it has the potentialities of laundering her (Nigeria’s) battered image among the comity of nations and it will also improve the tourism opportunity and thus, the economic situation of the country; if everybody agrees that we are going to make about US$500m, then Nigeria should be willing to do it. The investment of US$30m is infinitesimal to the reward that is expected from hosting the fight.
We hereby urge Your Excellency to please treat this request with the utmost urgency it deserves as it will be one of the greatest achievement of your regime as president and will serve as a pedestal for the rejuvenation of sporting activities in the country.
We thank you for the anticipated cooperation.
Yours in the service to our fatherland,
Executive Chairman, CACOL