Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has hailed British- Nigerian Anthony Joshua, for reclaiming the WBA, WBO and IBF world boxing heavyweight beltson Saturday night after beating Mexican, Andy Ruiz Jnr by unanimous decision in a rematch in Diriyah Arena, Saudi Arabia.
Buhari sent the congratulatory message in a statement issued on Sunday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
In the statement, the President rejoiced with Joshua and saluted him for bringing joy to millions of Nigerians, at home and in the Diaspora, who had rooted for him to regain the titles he lost about six months ago.
“The downfall of a man is truly not the end of his life. There’s always another, and better day. This is a lesson we must all learn from you as a country,” President Buhari tells the comeback world champion.
He also wished Joshua well as he seeks to bring more glory to Nigeria, and to the boxing profession.
In a related development, Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, also felicitated the boxer for the feat on Saturday night.
Abiodun noted that the Sagamu, Ogun State-born boxer made Nigerians proud by his victory and restored confidence that the nation will be great again.
“I congratulate Anthony on this successful outing. May he continue with the winning streak ad infinitum,” Abiodun said.
In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, the governor said Joshua displayed the “Ogun standard of excellence” by reclaiming all the titles in the rematch with Ruiz.
According to him, the fight kept sleep away from the eyes of many admirers of AJ worldwide, especially the people of Ogun State.
He noted that the professional boxer outclassed his opponent over 12 rounds “to compensate them (admirers) and reassured us that hard work pays.”
Abiodun attributed the outcome to the manifestation of God’s love for the people of the state who prayed ceaselessly for Joshua that the nightmarish experience of New York earlier in the year be reversed.
He said, “God still answers prayers. We return all the glory to God Almighty for granting our hearts’ desires and ceaseless prayers for our brother, Anthony Joshua, to regain the IBF, WBA and WBO titles.
“All of us in the state, irrespective of our religious affiliations prayed for his success. That the feat happened in Saudi Arabia doubly excites me. God answered us.”
“My joy is unquantifiable,” the governor said, adding: “our government has always dimensioned sports as not only a unifying factor but a socio-economic imperative.”
He also lauded Anthony Joshua for his determination, hard work, resilience and focus which he described as virtues ingrained in the DNA of Ogun people.
“He has made us proud by exhibiting these traits and the can-do spirit of Ogun people,” Abiodun added.
The governor noted that Joshua’s victory should inspire other aspiring champions of Ogun State origin to do more.
He said, “On our part, we would provide the necessary incentives to all our ambitious young men and women to become world champions in all considerable areas of sports – not only in boxing.
“We are poised to fix our stadia, upgrade facilities, train sportsmen and women, motivate coaches and develop talents starting from the grassroots.”