Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has tapped into Anthony Joshua’s victory by congratulating the 27-year-old who defeated Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday to retain the IBF belt and add the WBA and IBO.
Dogara, whose Chamber of the National Assembly has done little to promote sport development, did this via a statement released by his media aide, Turaki Hassan, in Abuja on Monday.
“I would like to congratulate the World Heavyweight champion, Anthony Olaseni Joshua, for this great feat that he has achieved. His dedication, discipline and commitment to boxing have paid off, as his is now a household name.
“The young man’s affinity for Nigeria is also apparent and commendable, as he has acknowledged his Nigerian roots in interviews and fully embraced the Nigerian identity.”
Dogara then called on sports development authorities in the country to seize this challenge as impetus to identify and develop home grown talent so that Nigerian athletes may compete on a global scale.
“Anthony Joshua’s success should be taken as an indication of what’s possible if we devote the required resources to training our athletes and offering all the support that they need. Many athletes of Nigerian origin represent and win medals for other countries because the environment which we offer is not very conducive, and now is the time to change that.
“Tales of our athletes being owed what’s due to them and the gruelling circumstances in which they have to prepare for tournaments discourage many from engaging in sports, and in cases where they do, we lose such talents to other countries, which are serious about capacity development, in no time at all.
“This calls for deep introspection on our part, as there are career opportunities for our teeming youth population outside academic institutions and white collar jobs that corporate entities have to offer.
“Young Nigerians have excelled in entertainment, for instance, and gone on to build enviable careers in the creative industry. This, they have managed to achieve without deliberate effort on the part of government and one can only imagine the heights which our youths would attain if we took deliberate steps towards genuinely supporting them in their chosen fields.”
“I would like to, once more, congratulate Mr. Joshua, while calling on the Executive, through the relevant agencies, to implement policies which would help greatly with developing home grown talent.”