Two years after, ‘recuperating’ Jerry Okorodudu gets sports ministry’s lifeline
• Old contractual salary paid
• Ex-boxers praise Sunday Dare
In August 2018, former Nigerian boxer and member of the country’s contingent to Los Angeles ’84 Olympic Games, Jeremiah Okorodudu’s contract was terminated by the sports ministry. Before then, the ministry owed him three months unpaid salaries.
Since then, Okorodudu, who competed in the men’s middleweight category at the Los Angeles ’84 Games, has been struggling for survival. His appeal to the ministry to pay his wages had fallen on deaf ears.
Last month, Okorodudu, who rose to prominence as one of Nigeria’s most celebrated pugilists in the 1980s, was admitted in a Lagos hospital, where he had a major operation. It took the efforts of some ex-boxers and top officials of the sports ministry to sort out his bills at the hospital after The Guardian broke the news about his predicament. He is still recuperating in Lagos.
But there is good news for Okorodudu. Yesterday, the sports ministry confirmed that his salary arrears had been paid to him. It came over 24 months after it was withheld.
“I just got a confirmation now that all my wages have been paid,” a euphoric Okorodudu told The Guardian in a telephone conversation. “Help me to thank the sports minister and his top management staff for coming to my rescue. It had been very tough for me coping without salary for 24 months. The ministry said I should come to Abuja to re-negotiate my contract when I fully recover. I am very grateful.”
Meanwhile, former Nigerian boxer, Mazi Ikechukwu Okoronkwo, has applauded what he described as ‘good quality leadership role’ of Mr. Sunday Dare for redeeming his promises by paying Okorodudu’s outstanding arrears in view of his old contract.
“This morning, I received this message through WhatsApp from the Office of Hon Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Abuja. Mr. Sunday Dare.
It reads: “Good morning my brother, Mazi Ikechukwu Okoronkwo. Yesterday, the Ministry made good on his promise to Jerry Okorodudu by paying him his remaining balance of his old contractual salary as promised.
“In the light of the above positive development, I call on Nigerians to have faith, hope and endurance with this current administration in area of youth and sports development because there is hope for better future.
“I also call on Nigerian youths to be patriotic in following administrative due processes in resolving any dispute for peace and unity because with sincerity of purpose and truth, success will be achieved,” Okoronkwo stated.
He commended former Nigerian queen of the track, Mary Onyali, who is Special Adviser to the Minister, as well as Special Adviser on media, John Joshua Akanji, for their efforts in helping athletes in distress.
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