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Aminu dreams pro career as charities win big at FirstBank Lagos Open 60th anniversary

By Christian Okpara
30 November 2021   |   4:01 am
Winnner of the 60th yearly FirstBank Lagos Amateur Open Golf Championship, Aminu Kadir, has declared his ambition of becoming one of the leading golfers in Nigeria. Kadir, just like Njoroge in 2019, is already eyeing a move to the professional cadre.

Group Executive, Technology and Services, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Callistus Obetta (right), handing over the key to an ambulance to Chairman, Ikoyi Club 1938, Ademola Mumuney, during the 60th FirstBank Open Golf Championship celebrations… last week

Winnner of the 60th yearly FirstBank Lagos Amateur Open Golf Championship, Aminu Kadir, has declared his ambition of becoming one of the leading golfers in Nigeria. Kadir, just like Njoroge in 2019, is already eyeing a move to the professional cadre.

Speaking shortly after being declared winner, Aminu, who said he waited long for the victory, said, “Next year, I will enroll into the Qualifying School and become a professional golfer. This has always been my dream,” he said, adding, “Winning the Lagos Open has boasted my confidence and belief that I will make it.”

If Aminu succeeds, he will be joining the likes of Willy Gift, Oche Odoh, Monday Eze, Ibrahim Ocheje, Austin Akpodiette, Abiola Moruf, Olusegun Daniel and others making waves as professional golfer.

A gross score of 14-over par was all the Ilorin Golf Club based category-one golfer needed to move to the next level.

While Aminu held sway in the amateur category, former winners, who are now professionals, also gave golf fans something to cheer as seen in the playoffs between Willy Gift from Python Golf Club in Port Harcourt and visiting Kenyan, Samuel Njoroge, who had to go on extra four-hole playoff for the decider.

The buildup to the championship was as interesting as the tournament itself. The idea to give back to the needy was something that excited Nigerians, especially golfers.

Tagged “Corporate Golf Challenge for Charity, a part of the FirstBank’s SPARK (Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness) initiative, the plan was to reach out to those in need off and on the course through the tournament.

Truly, it yielded the expected results. Among the beneficiaries were the Pacelli School of the Blinds, which got N5.1 million and the Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria, which also received N5.1m under the SPARK initiative.

That was not all. Knowing that golfers, like any other sportsmen and women, are also prone to injury, the sponsor donated an ambulance to Ikoyi Club 1938 to deal with emergencies.

Since its debut in 1961, Lagos Open has successfully groomed and harnessed talents. And as has been severally proven, Lagos Open is a lift of some sort, as some golfers have transitioned from amateur golfing to professional golfing through this yearly tournament.

Now, restating its commitment to the sport, the Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank of Nigeria Limited, Adesola Adeduntan, said, “First Bank’s support for the development of sport stems from the understanding that it is a major unifying force for individuals and communities, defying language, culture, religion, beliefs and social strata.”

Sports,” he added, is also a veritable platform for promoting a healthy nation, as a major vehicle for social and economic development.”

These beliefs, Adeduntan, who was represented by Callistus Obetta, said have been the bank’s greatest motivation for partnering with relevant institutions for sports development, through the sponsorship of major tournaments, one of which is this annual Golf tournament.

He listed FirstBank’s over 200 years contribution to sports development to include sponsorship of Georgian Cup of the Kaduna Polo Club for 102 years; Dala Hard Court Lawn Tennis Championship (32 years); and Lagos Amateur Open Golf Tournament, which it has supported for 60 years.

The firm also sponsors Elephant Girls Basketball Club and FirstBank Football Club, both of which serve as functional platforms for grooming successful professional sports women and men, as well as notable teams in their respective leagues.