The Lagos State Government has rewarded Nigeria’s first Olympic gold medalist Chioma Ajunwa-Oparah with a three-bedroom apartment. The gesture is coming 25 years after the government made the promise.
A former military administrator of the state Olagunsoye Oyinlola had pledged to give Ajunwa-Oparah a house for winning the gold medal in long jump at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu presented the key to the house to her in a ceremony on Thursday.
He described Ajunwa-Oparah’s feat as historic, saying it helped in improving Nigeria’s image and further heightened the hopes of young athletes.
“When Dr. Chioma Ajunwa-Oparah represented the country in the 1996 Olympic Games, some promises were made and very typical of us as a people, we forget. I have met and kept the promises of my predecessors in ensuring that our athletes get what they deserve,” the governor said during the presentation.
The Lagos leader noted that “She has remained a good reference point for sport, journalism and everything that relates to sport in our country. She is a true demonstration of can-do spirit, which reflects her decision to serve the country as a police officer after attaining a coveted position on an international sporting platform.
“We will continue to use her as a testimony to give women a strong voice and good representation in our sport organisations. We have made it compulsory to reserve 30 percent of positions to our women in Boards of sport organisations in Lagos.”
Ajunwa-Oparah who is now an Assistant Commissioner of Police said the gesture from the Lagos State Government is a “motivation” to a new generation of athletes. She admitted that the move has further renewed her hopes in Nigeria.
Her feat in the US made her the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal in a field event.