Press Article by Bruce Tajinere Ijirigho, Ph.D.
The Nigerian International Athletes Association (NIAA) is proud to announce that its 6th Annual International Convention and Fund-Raising Banquet will be held in Phoenix from 27-29 October 2006. The convention and fund-raising Banquet will be held at the Phoenix Marriot Hotel Mesa Arizona on Saturday, 28 October 2006.
For purposes of introduction, The NIAA represents a collection of some seventy five (75) former and present sports achievers spread across the globe who at one time or another have experienced the privilege of representing Nigeria in international sports competition. Disenfranchised by the state of sports affairs in Nigeria and deciding that enough was enough, these athletes took matters into their own hands at the turn of the century and formally founded The NIAA in 2000 as a tax exempt 501 (C) 3 organization. The association was founded to combat the problem of sports demise, which has exceeded epidemic proportions in a country so well blessed with incredible raw talent but no hope for the future.
The 2006 Convention & Banquet promises to be quite an event as several of Nigeria’s former and present premier sportsmen and women of international fame in all sports and other dignitaries will be in attendance. The Theme for the 2006 convention is “STEWARDSHIP”. At the banquet, a special tribute will be paid to The Late Dele Ndubisi Udoh, Nigeria’s 400 meters Olympian who was killed in 1981 while on active service for Nigeria. Other sports pioneers and Olympians will be recognized at the banquet. Mr. Christian Okoye, NIAA spokesperson and former NFL player will be in attendance with other professional athletes.
The NIAA’s mission and goals are three-fold:
- To provide needy and disadvantaged youths with the resources and support to achieve their God given potential in Education and Sports while bringing honor and glory to their community.
- To identify talented youths at the grassroots level and prepare them to succeed as student/athletes as well as productive members of society.
- To foster goodwill and comradeship through an exchange program among the youths of Nigeria and the United States, thereby creating a bridge which links the youths of both nations to the rest of the World.
Since its inception, the NIAA has recorded the following modest achievements:
- In November 2003, the NIAA organized a 5K run to raise funds for Hope Farms of Dallas, A home for 5-12 year old boys from poor single family homes.
- The NIAA has established an annual scholarship program for secondary school students in Nigeria who demonstrate great promise in sports and education.
- The NIAA has formalized a program for recruiting and placing talented student athletes in U.S. universities on scholarship.
- The NIAA has awarded scholarships to student athletes in Nigeria and the USA.
- The NIAA has completed a “Master Plan for the Development of Sports at the Grassroots level in Nigeria”.
The NIAA’s goal is to continue the award of scholarships and start implementing the grassroots sports development program in 2007 because we strongly believe that it will be the “factory” for producing future collegiate and Olympic Champions. It will cost a little over 2 million U.S. dollars annually to start the “factory” and keep it in perpetual production. Nothing this worthwhile and of this magnitude can be achieved without the financial support of well meaning people and organizations of like mind. We need your support to make this a reality. We urge you to support and help us to bring hope to today’s youths who will become tomorrows Olympic Champions.
The NIAA cordially invites all sports loving Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora, friends of Nigerian sports, and the news media, to join us at the convention as we deliberate on plans that will provide lasting solutions to the problems facing the development of sports in Nigeria.
This is your chance to contribute constructively and make a difference. You can make your reservations on line at www.marriott.com/phxmm or call 888 236 2427 and ask for group code NINIAA. The name of the Hotel is Phoenix Marriott Mesa on 200 N. Centennial Way Mesa, Arizona. Room rate is $85.00 plus tax per night. The reservations must be made no later than October 6th 2006 to get the special rate of $85.00 per night. If you are unable to attend, but would like to support our mission, please make out your tax deductible donation/check to the NIAA and mail to:
NIAA CONVENTION ORGANIZING COMMITTEE
Mr. Felix Imadiyi (Chairman)
2255 East Riverdale Street
Mesa, Arizona 85213
Phone: (480) 203-8551
Fax: (480) 644-3625
We look forward to seeing you at the convention and hope you will see reason to become an integral part of our worthwhile mission.
Bruce Tajinere Ijirigho, Ph.D.
President NIAA, Tel: (602) 319-7630
Secretary, Tel: (972) 384-1004
Public Relations Officer, Tel: (770) 842-8563