• Insists he got Buhari’s approval for Guinness Book of Record fight
“Why is it that when a Nigerian stands up to do something great in Nigeria, the No 1 opponents are Nigerians who are supposed to help him or her? But when out of frustration, the Nigerian goes abroad and becomes successful, Nigerians will be the first to say this is our own.”These were the questions by former World Cruiserweight Champion, Bash Ali, whose effort to enter the Guinness Record as the oldest man to fight in Nigeria and Africa is yet to see the light of day.
In 1985, Bash Ali made history as the first Cruiserweight boxing champion from the African continent. And 35 years after achieving that feat, he wants to walk into the ring once again. But the more Bash Ali tries to push his case, the more obstacles he encounter.However, the boxer says he would continue to push until his dream comes true.
In a letter to The Guardian yesterday, Ali said: “I want to break the jinx that a Nigerian cannot succeed in Nigeria unless he or she goes abroad. But I need help.” Last week, the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development refuted issuing any presidential endorsement to Bash Ali for his planned Guinness Record Fight.
In a letter sent to Ali through the sports ministry’s legal department and also forwarded to The Guardian, the ministry advised that the boxer should desist from peddling false claims about a non-existent approval from the office of the Minister to embark on a world fight.It added that no approval was given by the President, contrary to claims by Bash Ali that the endorsement was conveyed to him by office of the minister.
But in his letter dated January 12, 2020, addressed to Mr. Sunday Dare, Honorable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Bash Ali said: “Sports is one of the biggest industries in the world and if well organized in Nigeria will earn money for the government.“On January 6, 2020, I wrote a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari through your good self requesting for a courtesy visit to thank Mr President for once again recognizing my patriotism, tenacity and the Nigerian spirit of never give up by approving the hosting in Nigeria the first Guinness World Record in boxing championship fight to hold on the soil of Africa and what would be the most lucrative event in the history of boxing.
“Sir, this historic event was approved in 2015 and again on May 21, 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari. You have a copy of Mr President’s May 21, 2019 inaugural speech.“Sir, on January 7, 2020, I got a letter from you through the Director Legal Services. Paragraph 2 reads: ‘I am directed to state that it has come to the notice of this ministry your false claims about a non-existent approval from the office of the Minister to embark on the said world fight.”
Bash Ali asked: “Sir, is Mr President’s directive to you to meet with me not to go and execute his approval? I am sure you share Mr President’s vision for a better Nigeria with an enabling environment for every Nigeria to succeed.” He continues: “Sir, November 4, 2019 facts: Mr President knows that despite what I have suffered in my quest to bring honour, glory and financial growth to Nigeria, I never gave up on Nigeria so he directed you to meet with me to clear all the hurdles to make this historic fight a reality in out great country, Nigeria.
“You said this is no longer a Bash Ali fight but the government’s. And that was why I wrote the January 6, 2020 letter requesting for a courtesy visit to Mr President through your good self. You also said all the government arms would be involved in this historic fight,” Bash Ali stated.