Sports minister, ex-boxers rally to save ailing Okorodudu
• We have not received any money, says wife
Respite may have come for Nigeria’s ex-boxer and member of the country’s contingent to Los Angeles ’84 Olympic Games, Jeremiah Okorodudu, who is battling for survival after undergoing a major operation in a Lagos hospital.
His wife, Mrs. Nike Okorodudu, had told The Guardian on Monday that her husband needed urgent financial help to meet his medical bills at a private hospital in Ikorodu, Lagos.
To save Okorodudu from his predicament, the Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, was said to have moved into action by ordering the payment of his medical bills on Monday evening.
The Special Adviser on Media to the Sports Minster,
John Joshua-Akanji, told The Guardian yesterday that the ministry had taken up Okorodudu’s case.
“He was taken to the hospital yesterday (Monday). Some ex-boxers sent money to the wife to pay the initial hospital bill. The Minister has directed that the balance be paid. His file for his contract outstanding money, which was under NSC, was dusted up yesterday (Monday) to process payment. Talk to the wife or Jerry for all the efforts that was made in the last 48 hours,” Joshua-Akanji stated.
He continued: “But the truth of the matter is that his contract has lapsed, but the Minister, Mr. Sunday Dare, has given an explicit directive that he (Okorodudu) must be properly treated. He is committed to the welfare of athletes, whether active or retired, and would do anything to those in dire need.”
However, Okorodudu’s wife sounded different yesterday. “Nobody has sent money to us to pay his medical bills. Mary Onyali (Special Adviser on sports to the sports minister) actually called me on Monday. I have done all that she requested me to do, but as we speak, nobody has reached out to us. We are still in the hospital here, and the doctors are insisting on cash before they will continue with the treatment. I am appealing to the sports minister and all well meaning Nigerians to assist my husband,” she said.
Jerry Okorodudu, who rose to prominence as one of the Nigeria’s most celebrated boxers in the 1980s, had been down for more than two months.
“My husband has been sick for two months now, and we have spent all our finances. He survived a major operation, a big boil on his buttock, on Monday. Now, the doctors told us to deposit money before they will continue with the treatment. We don’t have any money at the moment,” Mrs. Okorodudu said.
Before his health challenges started about two months ago, Okorodudu had alleged that the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports owed him several months unpaid salaries.