By Ahmed Idris
For Keen followers of the face -off between Bash Ali and the Ministry of sports spanning the past 15 years, Bash Ali often seeks to have his way with successive Ministers and anyone not supportive of his proposed fight becoming a target of blackmail and verbal attacks. The last four Ministers of sports, including the current one have not been spared his antics and tirade.
Bash has not only constituted himself into a public nuisance ,but his ability to peddle falsehood is worrisome and alarming.
To stem this tide, the current Minister Mr. Sunday Dare is seeking redress in the court where the former boxer is expected answer to charges of libel, defamation and character assassination.
Bash Alli had in the past 15 years failed to secure Federal Government approval for his phantom fight with 5 successive Ministers refusing to buy into his project which they rightly insisted should be handled by the Nigerian Boxing Board of Control.
Bash Alli has been campaigning for support to organise a so called Guiness Book of record fight in Nigeria , an enterprise considered a fraud in some quarters.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development initially constituted a Local Organising Committee to assist in raising funds with the assumption that it would be private sector -driven in 2019.
According to available information, the fight could cost a staggering 48 Million US Dollars which was not budgeted for by the Federal Government.
The Ministry had made it clear that its mandate is amateur boxing, while professional boxing is purely a private affair under the purview of the Nigerian Boxing Board of control (NBB OF C) .All entreaties to Bash to liaise with NBB OF C to make his so called record fight a reality has been rebuffed.
Due to Bash Ali’s incessant intimidation, harassment and false allegations against the moribund LOC members and government officials, the funds for the fight could not be raised. Moreso, the position of government at all material time was to provide a platform where funds can be raised through the private sector to support the fight.
Following from the above, particularly on the inability of the LOC to raise the required funds for the fight, Bash Ali resorted to blackmail and harassment of government officials to force government to sponsor the said fight. As a result of this development, the Ministry has taken a position not to be involved in any World Guinness Record Fight as proposed by Bash Ali.
All these had led to continuous intimidation and incessant false allegations from the Boxer against successive Minister of Youth and Sports Development.
His latest antics is the weighty allegation that the Minister took part of the out of court settlement money, an allegation he now has to prove in court.
Bash Alli over the years had made several baseless allegations against Ministry officials, former and current Ministers regarding the inability of the Ministry to raise funds for this so called project.
The current Honourable Minister had never asked Bash Alli for a private meeting, neither has President Buhari directed the Ministry to host the fight as alleged by the boxer.
Finally, and for the avoidance of doubt,it must be affirmed that Mr. Bash Ali has no case against the Ministry. Moreover, the said fight is a professional bout and does not fall under the purview of the Ministry which supervises only amateur sports.
While the Ministry was trying to assist Bash Ali to stage the Boxing event which is a private sector driven project, it is important to state that at no time did the Ministry proposed to sponsor or finance the project.