SPORTS Minister/Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Bolaji Abdullahi, and the House of Representatives’ Committee on Sports boss, Godfrey Gaiya have pledged to support the World Wrestling Professionals (WWP) Heavyweight Wrestling champion, Osita Offor, also known as De Ultimate Commander, who is billed to defend his title in Nigeria later this year.
The wrestler visited the government officials last week to intimate them of his plans for the title defence, which would also feature music and dance with some world renowned artistes entertaining the audience at the event.
Speaking while receiving the wrestler’s delegation in his office at the National Stadium, Abuja, Abdullahi applauded the vision of the fight organisers in trying to mix sports with music, saying that the idea was in line with the NSC vision of marrying sports with music.
“This is quite in keeping with our vision at the NSC that sports and music are both cultural products that go together; hence we recently launched Rhythm and Play to sensitise the youth on the need to embrace the two.
“We assure you that the NSC will do all we can to cooperate and encourage you to succeed in the programme.”
Although, the minister reiterated that the NSC deals with amateur sports only, he assured De Commander of the sports ministry’s support to ensure his success in the fight.
While praising the wrestler for bringing honours to Nigeria, Gaiya, who received the wrestler’s delegation in his office at the National Assembly, said he was delighted by the exploits of the wrestler, who has ‘traveled far and wide in his search for glory for the nation.’
Gaiya said, “De Commander is not only promoting his career, he is also promoting the corporate image of Nigeria and we are promising that any endorsement he requires he will get it expressly.
“He is an ambassador of the National Assembly and free to come in and out of the assembly any time he wants to see us.”
Gaiya revealed that the National Assembly was working on a bill that would encourage corporate bodies to sponsor sports and help take Nigerian youths off the streets.
He said, “apart from football, we have 38 other sports and we are trying to see how to make them grow so that we can diversify and encourage our teeming youths the opportunity to take these sports as their profession.
“Sport is a very big business, which can help to decongest the large pool of unemployed youths of the country. When that happens, we would have succeeded in curbing youth restiveness in the country because as they say, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”
Earlier De Commander had intimated the House Committee Chairman on his preparations for the fight, saying, “we are here to promise that in line with your belief, we will not let the country down.
“As part of my preparations, I have some test fights coming up in the U.S. I will also feature in a championship in South Africa aimed at celebrating Nelson Mandela in Port Elizabeth.
“These are the major fights that will put me in shape for the Battle of the legends. Already, I have engaged my trainers from Liberia and the United States to begin preparation for the championship.”