Retired Nigerian Olympic Boxer Ayodele Peters Now Living In Abject Poverty “I Regret Being A Citizen”

ayodele peters retired olympic boxer

Oct 18, 2013 – Retired Nigerian Olympic Boxer Ayodele Peters Now Living In Abject Poverty “I Regret Being A Citizen”

A line in the National anthem says ‘The labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain’ but whether this promise is strictly adhered to has become an illusion to the majority of Nigerians. But that is one promise that has been called to question in the lives of many who have spent their active years serving the nation. This particularly true of sports men and women abandoned by the nation at the most critical times of their lives.

ayodele peters pictures

The families of some sports legends would testify to this fact. Even the living ones like Joe Mensah, Sebastian Brodericks, Paul Hamilton, Davidson Andeh, Tunde Disu, Sunday Onyerekwa, Peter Konyegwachie, Peter Aneke, Joe Lasisi, and the first Olympic medalist for Nigeria, Nojeem Mayegun, who now resides in Austria, cannot boast of enjoying the best of rewards for the services they rendered to their fatherland.

One of the latest victims of this official neglect is Ayodele Peters, a retired boxer who went as far as representing Nigeria at the Olympics games in 1980. But all he has to show for that today is grinding poverty on account of which he lost his wife and children and now lives in an uncompleted building in a remote part of Lagos.

Peters lives in a three bedroom bungalow devoid of any identification number because of its remote nature. It has no doors or windows and looks abandoned in every sense. Tattered cloths serves as window blinds in the apartment he also shares with some domestic animals.

Like most Nigeria’s sport legends, his journey from grace to grass started when according to him he fell out with the officials of the Ogun State Sports Council in 1989. Having started his boxing career as a student of the Lagos State Technical College, where he graduated with a certificate in Building Technology in 1976, Peters was immediately co-opted as one of the pioneer staff of the Ogun State Sports Council after its creation same year. Recounting his ordeal, ‘Anikulapo’ as he is fondly called by his admirers narrated how he watched his wife and kids, a boy and a girl snatched away by the cold hands of death in a bizarre circumstance in 1996. According to him they had fallen ill at different times and he couldn’t provide five thousand naira for their medications.

“My brother I am really sorry taking you through this stress, I am ashamed we could not board an okada (Commercial motor-cycle), that is because I don’t have the hundred naira to spear. Please forgive me. This is what I have had to face for so many years now. At times i walk longer distance,” he had said repeatedly.

Peters represented Nigeria at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. Before his Olympic appearance, he was one of the most decorated boxers in the country.

“I was employed into the Ogun State Sports Council the same year it was created. So we were the pioneer employees of the state and I was placed on grade level 03. By 1978, I had won four fights for Ogun State and after our recruitment, a former Lght- heavy weight champion then Archi More was in Nigeria on contract with the National Sport Commission and seconded to the Nigeria Amateur Boxing Association, it was through him I discovered the secrets of boxing and after taking us through a course I was awarded a grade 3 coaching certificate.”

Expressing regrets at sticking with Nigeria when he had options of taking up the citizenship of top European countries like France and Great Britain, the Lagos born former athlete has had to leave from hand to mouth in his country of birth. Claiming to have lost everything he worked for in life, Peters’ only consolation is the fact that he is hale and healthy, and that his aged mother, who according to him is approaching her 90s and resides at the Magodo area of Lagos, is still alive.

Another painful tale that he does not want to recollect s he puts it is “ In 1996 I lost my wife and two children to death for lack of money to purchase prescribed medicine I am a sad man. I am a loner.” .

Peters continued: “I hope I will not die in this situation because it will not be a good story for the land and even those living on it. If so many of us have died mysteriously, then why do we need to serve the country? People keep billions in their accounts, what do they do with it? Our mind sets must change, what would have been enough for children yet unborn, one individual will just put it in his account. I am just praying that God will not allow me die this way. Since 1994 that the Sports Council threw me to the streets because of money and title, yes I mean the Ogun State Sport Council. From 1976 to 1994 they pushed me out on compulsory retirement, by 1996 they asked me to write an application for voluntary retirement. I made grade level 07 since 1986, so how can the sports council place me on compulsory retirement without the Ministry of Sports? The Sports Council is a parastatal under the Ministry of Sports, so they can’t say they place me on compulsory retirement without the Ministry of Sports.”

According to him in 1989 the Director of Sports and the Administrative Officer in the state’s Sports Council were removed by the state government for financial impropriety. A Sole Administrator was appointed in person of one Mr.Runsewe. He went to him and presented his case again, but to his amazement, Runsewe expressed fears, revealing that those behind his case were too powerful to handle.

Responding to Peters’ claims, the Director of Sports, Ogun State, Adesola Faleti, who is also an Olympian and a contemporary of the complainant, said records at the sports council states that Peters retired voluntarily from active service in 1996.

[Source: PM Sports]

15 thoughts on “Retired Nigerian Olympic Boxer Ayodele Peters Now Living In Abject Poverty “I Regret Being A Citizen”

  1. I don’t blame people giving birth in abroad
    Of what use is Nigerian citizenship?
    Anybody can get it if dey have money

  2. Don’t blame Nigeria straight ahead for the cause of your poverty though citizens are negleted here because if you had a vision for yourself in the begining you would have known where you are heading to and what you want for yourself. Depending on people and not God is one sure thing that kills us. I don’t mean to be harsh but the truth has to be told.

    • shame to you, not the Nigeria government if some one fail to plan for his life how as that go to do with the government no where in the world that government will be responsible for everything,you have to plan your life not the government so fools stop blaming our government for everything

  3. ‘Shame to Nigerian Government’, yea, I agree with you, but notwithstanding, one should not risk gambling with his/her life by depending on the Government when you’re well aware of situation in the country, where the “greedy rules”.
    You should always have a plan B towards your future and that of your dependents! That’s why God has blessed us with able hands and legs to work and earn a good living.

  4. May God Hv His way in our land sum1 sufering kos of his nation bt imagine wht is nw pas 2ru. God hv mercy n provide 4 ur soon, i pray dt al tns lost in ur lif u ‘l recover it In Jesus Name.

  5. As u lay your bed, so you lye on it, it is a powerful lesson for the youth.! This is exactly what those that are hiding Nigeria’s money are afraid of (old age poverty)take hrad PAPA, u didn’t plan well, I’m very sorry to say so!

  6. John F. Kennedy once said ” Ask not what your country can do for you- ask what you can do for your country”. Yes, govt may be a little crazy but people have responsibilities as well which we don’t want to admit. In the West, its the people that fund the people through tax payer money. Its the young generation that fund “baby boomers”(old people).
    Could this man have invested in some kind of small business or even if it is agriculture that we so be-littled, his situation might not be this worse. I’m sure he got paid then. I do believe he should be getting pension somehow. So far from this article there is nothing to suggest that his country cheated him or let him down financially other than recognition. Pls govt, I beg make una help am and his aged mother

  7. here it goes everything you people want to copy from abroad Britain got talent,american idol,real housewives and other copy copy shows in every movies when they travel is us i wonder if usa is next door to nigeria now the thing with the originals they know how to maintain their own who retire unless they individually abuse the help you can never find an ex Olympian in UK or us in such a condition. in a nutshell if nigeria copies all international shows they should atleast learn from the masters look after your people after the spotlight. 2 please be original its annoying not being original deuces

  8. Pa Peters has just won N1m through Who Wants to be a Millionaire! I hope he uses the money to develop himself and also pray that rich Nigerians come to his aid.

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