Cross River State Governor, Senator Bassey Edet Otu, has taken steps for the rehabilitation of Ex-Olympian, Etim “Ironbar” Bassey, who has been living on the streets of Lagos for several years.
Otu met with Etim Bassey with top Government functionaries led by Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Elvert Ayambem, at the Governor’s Office in Calabar.
Governor Otu said he was touched by the dire straits in which Bassey has found himself and as a citizen that has contributed to putting the state and Nigeria on the sports map, globally, it was the right thing to do.
“I am touched by the situation you (Ironbar) have found yourself in and it is the right thing to bring you back home and get you something to do.
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“What matters now is the legacy you have created. So, forget all that you have gone through and look to the future and this administration is here to see you back and to contribute to sports development in our state.
“We will rehabilitate you. You are to see the Commissioner of Sports for immediate employment where you find fit so that you can be meaningfully engaged. I wish you the best,” Governor Otu added.
Responding, Ironbar expressed his gratitude to the government and could not contain his joy at being found and given another opportunity at dignity and recognition.
Bassey, popularly known as Ironbar, first came into the limelight as a weightlifter at the 1981 Lagos Sports Festival where he won a Gold Medal and won another gold at the National Festival Sports in Benin City that same year.
He went on to compete in the African Weightlifting Championships in Port Saeed, Egypt, and won three Gold Medals. His reputation will be cemented at the 1982 Commonwealth Games where he won a Bronze Medal.
However, fate had other plans for him at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles where he tore a muscle and his participation and medal hope was cut short.