Yakubu Adesokan is one of Nigeria’s most prominent para power-lifters, having broken several world records in his weight division and won gold medals in both the Olympics and Commonwealth Games.
In an interview with the Saturday Telegraph, Adesokan called out the lack of support provided for para-athletes within Nigeria fromthose in positions of prominence, encouraging them to emulate the likes of Prophet T.B. Joshua.
“I would like to see the country do more for us disabled people and I mean every disabled person,” Adesokan, one of Nigeria’s six gold medallists at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, stressed.
“We should enjoy social benefits like other disabled in advanced countries. I believe the government can do it because Nigeria is a very rich country; it’s just a question of government commitment,” he continued.
“Even beyond government, rich people are not showing enough passion for disabled sportsmen.The likes of Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola among other billionaires have not really identified with us and it’s rather unfortunate,” he explained.
“Same with other multinational companies who would rather identify with footballers whenever they win a competition for Nigeria but in our own case, they don’t even show any concern,” he continued, adding that even though most European-based footballers “might not be moved” with such support, it would be “life-changing” for para-athletes.
Adesokan then recalled one of his “happiest moments in terms of being appreciated as a sportsman”as the time Prophet T.B. Joshua of The SCOAN hosted Nigeria’s Para-athletes after the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India.
“He gave gold medallists N1 million and those of us that won three gold medals each got a car in addition. Silver medallists got N500,000 and bronze medallists got N300,000. Even fellow disabled that accompanied us got N50,000 each,” he fondly recalled.
“Prominent and wealthy Nigerians can emulate him,” he emphasised.
Concluding his remarks, Adesokan stated he is in earnest preparation for Tokyo’s Paralympic Games in 2020, reiterating his call for further support for his fellow athletes.
“We have consistently shone for Nigeria at various international championships and it would be logical if we get the same kind of attention like the able bodied athletes,” he affirmed.
SOURCE: Saturday Telegraph – https://www.newtelegraphng.com/2019/02/not-placing-priority-on-money-helped-me-to-succeed-adesokan/
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