WNBA LEGENDS: Dabiri-Erewa honours Lisa Leslie, Chiney Ogwumike

Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Hon Abike
Dabiri- Erewa has reiterated the fact that Sports Development in
Nigeria will go a long way if its Diaspora Component is fully harnessed
and developed through knowledge-sharing, expertise, skills and
investment in the Sector.Dabiri-Erewa strongly took the standpoint as she hosted the duo of the
Naismith Basketball Memorial Hall of Famer Lisa Leslie and two-time WNBA
All-Star Chiney Ogwumike in Abuja, Nigeria.The NiDCOM Chairman described the likes of Leslie and Ogwumike as
strategic and important for the advancement in sports development in
Nigeria since they are embedded with skills and resources to groom
home-grown talents as a way of volunteerism and giving back to Nigeria.

The NiDCOM Boss extolled the virtues and enormous energies Lisa and Chiney
have brought to bear on basketball and have equally inspired younger

Minister of Sports Development, Sen. John Owan Enoh, Special Guest of
honor at the event, said the Ministry will soon create a Diaspora Sports
desk, as a step further in rebranding sports development in Nigeria.

Sen Owan Enoh expressed optimism that the Nigerian sports industry will
skyrocket into a platform that will promote networking and investment
opportunities with who’s who in Nigeria and in the international sports
arena especially with the Diaspora component which is a huge gold mine.

He commended the Diaspora Commission for what it does for Diaspora Engagement; while encouraging the female honourees, to do more for Sports Development.

Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Hon Tochukwu Chinedu
Okere expressed solidarity and applauded the WNBA Women Basketball
Professionals especially the Nigerian-American, Chiney (Chinenye)
Ogwumike, who has demonstrated unmitigated passion and love for her
country, Nigeria.

Hon. Okere asserted that Ogwumike can be counted among the over 50 per
cent of Nigerians who have or pursued higher degrees in tertiary
institutions, and built a name for themselves that have brought pride
and honour to Nigeria.

He therefore urged them to cause a turn around in Basketball development
in Nigeria.Meanwhile, representative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Amb. Samson
Itegboje, noted that soft power through unity, diversity, hardwork and
collaboration is needed to achieve an objective Diaspora Sports
Development.Amb. Itegboje commended the WNBA Stars for following worthy values that
resonates within them.

Lisa Leslie, first woman to dunk in basketball, appreciated the warmth
she has received since her arrival in Nigeria adding that the same
attitude is seen in Nigerian Diasporas which clearly indicates the true
friendship, kind and happy nature of Nigerians, aside their diligence,
industry and high moral values.

She said basketball has impacted so much for her and had paved way to
push for fairness and equity for women in the game, in terms of number,
ethnicity and other factors.
The American former WNBA player understands that the youth are the
future and they are passionately driven to help the youths in sports

Chiney (Chinenye) Ogwumike super excited to be back home, commended the
leadership of Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa and NIDCOM Management and Staff,
for a well thought-out honour accorded them and promised to give back to
her country, Nigeria by accentuating Baskellball development in Nigeria.

As a recent appointee, although the youngest, among the US President’s
Cabinet,the Nigeria-American Diaspora Basketballer and Broadcaster said she is
very passionate about sports development especially Basketball.

She agreed that sports, like oil and gas industry, needed to be diversified which is why she is bringing in skills and expertise in growing basketball, especially for Women in Nigeria.

Vice President, NBA Africa and Country Head, NBA Nigeria, Gbemisola
Abudu ,informed that 50 out of the 120 basketballers of African descent
are Nigerians, playing for US basketball teams; which is one of the
reasons the Association established its Africa branch.

According to her, taking this step will help produce more local talents
that will become the next Michael Jordan, Lisa Leslie or
Chiney Ogwumike in the American teams.

Solidarity messages from the Representatives of the FCT Minister Nyesom Wike and Sports enthusiasts were acknowledged.

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