President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the allocation of 22 three-bedroom houses to Chioma Ajunwa the Super Eagles squad that won the Africa Cup of Nations in Tunis, Tunisia, in 1994, in fulfilment of an earlier promise by the Federal Government.
This was sequel to a memo by Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, leading to the President approving the allocations in their states of preference.
A release on Thursday by Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, noted that six players and three technical crews had already received their houses.
Players to benefit from this largesse from President Buhari include; Peter Rufai, Alloy Agu, Ike Shorounmu, Uche Okechukwu, Samson Siasia, Efan Ekoku, Sunday Oliseh, Benedict Iroha, Isaac Semitoje, Mutiu Adepoju, Emmanuel Amuneke, Victor Ikpeba, Austin Eguavoen, and Wilfred Agbonavbare (Deceased).
Others are Uche Okafor (Deceased), Thompson Oliha (Deceased), and Stephen Keshi (Deceased).
Officials listed to get the promised houses are; Christian Chukwu, Dr. Akin Amao, Stephen Edema, Col. A Asielue, and B. Aromasodun.
Similarly, the long wait is over for Chioma Ajunwa-Oparah, the first African woman to win a gold medal in the Olympic Games field event.
Twenty-five years after, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, redeemed the Government’s pledge of a house to the athlete.
The Governor, yesterday, presented keys to a three-bedroom apartment in Babatunde Raji Fashola Housing Estate in Iponri to Ajunwa-Oparah, who is now an Assistant Commissioner of Police in Lagos Police Command.
Sanwo-Olu made the presentation at a reception held for Lagos State’s athletes who participated in the recently concluded National Sports Festival in Edo State. Lagos won 125 medals, including 32 gold and 27 silver medals in the contest.
The Governor, at the event, also presented cheques to the medal winners, some of whom are going to represent the nation in the forthcoming Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan.
Ajunwa-Oparah, a long jump athlete, put Nigeria on the global radar after she won a gold medal in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, United States.
She was promised a house by the then Military Government, but the pledge was not fulfilled before the country returned to democracy in 1999.
Presenting the apartment’s key to the first individual Olympic gold medalist in Nigeria, Sanwo-Olu said the feat achieved by Ajunwa-Oparah helped redeem the country’s bad image and raised the hope of young people seeking to improve their sporting skills.
“When Dr. Chioma Ajunwa-Oparah represented the country in the 1996 Olympic Games, some promises were made, and very typical of us as a people, we forgot to redeem the pledges. I have met and kept the promises of my predecessors in ensuring that our athletes get what they deserve.
“The promise of a befitting shelter to Chioma Ajunwa-Oparah could have been delayed for 25 years, but today she will be a proud owner of a three-bedroom apartment in the famous Babatunde Raji Fashola Estate in Iponri,” stressed sports-loving Gov. Sanwo-Olu yesterday.
Ajunwa-Oparah, who earlier decorated the Governor with a replica of her 1996 gold medal, betrayed her emotion as she received the keys to the apartment from Sanwo-Olu.
She described the gesture as a “motivation” to fulfil her dream of raising a new generation of athletes, saying the Governor’s action had further reinforced her belief in the country.
As he presented cheques to the successful Lagos athletes, Sanwo-Olu urged them not to rest on their oars in excelling and achieving greater feats in the Tokyo Olympics.
Chairman of Lagos State Sport Commission, Mr. Sola Aiyepeku, presented the Olympic team to the Governor for cash support and honour.
Sanwo-Olu rewarded the Lagos representatives at the National Sport Festival with N146 million. Also, the Governor presented cheques ranging from N300,000 to N5 million to winners of medals in the contest.
Ahmed Koleosho, a para table tennis player and Lagos team captain, received a cheque of N2.5 million from the Governor as prize for his feat. He will also be representing Nigeria at the Tokyo Olympic Games.