The final game of Ejike Ugboaja talents hunt tournament held in Lafia, Nasarawa state recently
By Raphael Ekpang
Mr. Ejike Ugboaja, the founder of Ejike Ugboaja Foundation, has revealed that his foundation is using sports to not only provide education and restore hope to hopeless Nigerians, but it is taking youths off the street to curb insecurity in the country and make them better citizens.
Ugboaja, the only player that has been drafted to NBA made the revelation in an exclusive interview with Corereporters.com.ng on Thursday in Abuja.
He said, the rate of insecurity in Nigeria could be controlled if the government, corporate bodies and private individuals in Nigeria are ready to partner with his foundation to take the youths off the streets through scholarship and sports.
The former NBA and D’Tigers’ star stated that the foundation since inception in 2006 has discovered and sponsored over 2000 youths to school in the United State of America and also play basketball and Nigeria-America football.
Ugboaja has also called on Nigerian youths to make themselves available to the foundation especially now that they are organizing talents hunt basketball tournaments across states in Nigeria.
“We are ready to help as many youths as possible to achieve their dreams in life without necessarily involving illicit activities. We have been doing this since the last 16 years by ourselves without a sponsor, so if we get a sponsor today don’t you think we can do greater things for our youths; both now and in the future?”
“I’m begging the youths to invest in sports, and we can see how we can help them to go to school to make sure they meet their dreams.
“We have basketball and Nigeria-America football where we nurture talents and transform them to super stars like; Bayo, Achunwa, Jannis and the hosts of others.
” Currently, we have over 2000 Nigerian youths that have been In the US. All have got their degrees. Some of them had their masters, and they are living a better life right now and some of them came back this Christmas to help the youths too.
He further noted that the foundation, considering the rate of insecurity in Nigeria will increase the number of youths to be awarded scholarships to study in the USA, play basketball and Nigeria-America football.
Core Reporters report that during the talents hunt basketball tournament in Lafia, Nasarawa State recently, Emir of Lafia Hon Justice Sidi Bage Muhammed 1, who doubled as the chairman, Nasarawa State Council of chiefs and the Andoma of Doma, Alhaji Ahmad Ogah Onawo witnessed the youths in the state displaced their talents before spectators to their admiration. A situation, the duo pledged their support to the foundation to enable them take Nasarawa youths off the street through sports.
“Now, we basically want to include some of the ones that are not doing sport to come into sport. We will start teaching them how to do the sport, one of the scholarship students didn’t know how to do sport, so now is the time to teach him how to do the sport all together because sport really helps you generally. Sport is a whole lot. In the US, sports men and women are very smart people.
“They have great ideas. They are even among the richest. From a very poor background, you see someone who ventures into sports, he or she starts developing, before you know it, great talent is born and the person starts earning so much without further stress.
“All we need now is support to enable us to continue what we are doing. With support from individual and corporate bodies, even the government, we can do more,” Ugboaja concluded.