*Gets support of Sadiq Abdullahi, others
By Olajide Fashikun
With the clear signal that the former Czar and life President of Nigerian tennis, Emperor Sani Ndanusa, will not be coming back no matter the tweaking of the electoral guidelines, the nation’s most successful tennis player, Nduka Odizor, the Duke of Wimbledon, is set to run as the President of the federation.
Nduka Odizor was the first West African tennis star to play in the fourth round of the Wimbledon championship in June 1983. This earned him the sobriquet of the Duke of Wimbledon.
Odizor, who won a career singles and seven doubles titles in his playing days, said through his facebook page, “I have officially decided to run for the vacant position of the presidency of the Nigerian Tennis Federation. The election is schedule for 9th June 2017. I am still in Houston but will be heading to Nigeria my mid May.
“He added, “I should be heading to Nigeria by end of May in order to officially start the campaign. I will appreciate any amount of donation…even if it’s less than the $100 benchmark. Remember that our minimum target is $123K.”
www.gongnews.net recalled an earlier report where he said, “there has been so many complains that government is doing little or nothing but we keep getting it wrong because government is about people and if I keep complaining then I’m part of the problem. We have to start something in order to convince others to join us and that is what I’m doing with Mr Edward Tombim in Abuja,” stated Odizor nicknamed the Duke.
Odizor, a property developer and financier, started a tennis project training children and supporting them to build a
career in sports. The project is currently being test-run with 10 kids under Babatunde Abe, a US-trained coach in Abuja. The kids are given a meal daily and two meals on Saturdays and Sundays. In addition, the kids get weekly allowances.
“The school is not just about tennis but a school with normal primary and secondary school curricular where five international languages namely English, French, Chinese, Spanish and Swahili will be taught because the truth is that 90% of the kids will never succeed in tennis but if they are educated and also play tennis, they would have acquired skills that will help them in future.”
Odizor, who reached his highest ATP singles of World No. 52 ranking in June 1984 said. Odizor last year donated about 50 tennis shoes, 30 rackets and clothes for kids towards the running of a monthly junior tennis tournament in Abuja which has been running for about three years.
He added: “I was just an ordinary ball boy at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club some 50 years ago before I was given the chance to play tennis and I see what I’m doing as a payback for that life-transforming gesture.”
As a mark of seriousness for the Presidency of the Tennis Federation, he has asked his friends, followers and lovers of tennis to donate towards his campaign. He launched a campaign for $123,000.”
His former team mate, Sadiq Abdullahi has launched a massive support for the emergence of Nduka Odizor. In a telephone chat with www.gongnews.net the University don said, “I am so happy someone like Nduka Odizor is coming out. His name alone is hope inspiring. Now, I can look forward and tell you, tennis will return to where it used to be. Whatever is required to make him win the election must be put in place. This is a new dawn for the game.”