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Analysis: Matching Culture With Sports To Attain African Noble Vision, Amb. Adetunji As Pacesetter



By Tajudeen Balogun, Head African Examiner, Nigeria Bureau – Every sector and profession has its core and related aspects. Basically, the related segments are always obvious and unarguably considered to have links with their ‘principals’. Still, the human potential, his capacities as well as exploits have broken the ‘long surviving’ jinx, as certain fields which ordinarily; many might not give the chance for them to be experimented and subsequently consolidated, with respect to their related them, have not (presently) only been actualized, but are gaining global attention; impacting positively on the socio-economic fortunes of the ‘recipient’ nations and their populace, while the initiators of the unprecedented feat are being accorded due attention, enjoyed extensive mentioning and meritoriously rewarded.



For instance, when the print mass media is mentioned and linked to the printing properly, many view that this is a match. Another obvious match is education and sports. Yet, one might not quickly (unlike in most cases) figure out the direct links between sports and culture as well as the extent they could go; promote and drive values, bonds and ultimately use as an instrument to set the tone for global peace and unity.

The above has caught, attracted and since remained the areas of interest and focus of the Nigerian-born, Ambassador Tunde Adetunji, the founder of the African Heritage Foundation (AHF). From all indications, it appears the hindsight behind the AHF’s initiative is about the irresistible passion to take far and wide, the “unexplored” rich African culture, using the sports as launch pad. This was once encapsulated in one of the functions – exhibition of the Foundation when it was declared: “Without Heritage There Is No Horizon” “Our Heritage Is Our Pride”. The inventory of the show, AHF also impressed it, was a significant historical values for researchers, collectors and people in quest of “African heritage values, civilization, history, dignity and pride”.

AHF, with the base in Atlanta and Alabama, United States (US) was inspired in matching culture with sports, hence pre-occupied with the objectives of opening doors of opportunity as number one image maker and mouthpiece for Nigeria and Africa in the Diaspora. And despite the fact that the set goals have been achieved to some extent, the Foundation is as well willing  to honor invitations from reputable organizations, individuals or government, wishing to engage its initiator’s  outstanding professional experience, talent, network connection, wisdom, expertise and exposure in the Diaspora.

Besides cultural richness, Ambassador Adetunji is also an advocate of credible elections and an unrepentant African protagonist. Recently, he was a resource person at the National Institute of Policy and Strategies Studies (NIPSS) Kuru, where he spoke on Credible Elections and Election Monitoring.

To Amb. Adetunji, Africa is a continent of possibility and future of the world. His reasoned: “African matters, African is the future. Failure is not closer to any man than success, neither is poverty any closer than Abundance. Demons are not closer to the believer than Angels are; both sides keep advertising themselves by calling for attention. Its proximity should be regarded as a yardstick for what rules in any circumstances of life, then the positive is far closer to you than the negative, I predict to you today, fortune is closer to us in Nigeria than misfortune”.

“Whenever the history of our great nation is written, fellow brothers and sisters, you have a pride of place. More so, life can be compared to a journey. Our worst fear is not that we are inadequate; our greatest fear is that we are too powerful beyond measure; we are to be gorgeous, fantastic and fabulous. Of course, who are we not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world, there is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you” Professor Adetunji advocated at the discourse.

Speaking directly on the last Nigerian general polls, the erudite Envoy re-echoed that the stage was set to rewrite history on violence in Nigeria, stressing the importance of standing on the promise course. Adetunji asserted that the Africans in the Diaspora have the answers to African problems.

He reminiscence that accountability and equitable leadership were the hallmarks of the past leaders such as: Late Tafawa Balewa, ObafemiAwolowo, Dr. Azikwe and Jomo Kenyata, Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkruma and Nelson Mandela.

Election, he cautioned was not a “matter of do or die”. Ambassador Adetunji noted display of absolute patriotism, played major role in the national patrimony and offered over best to the country. He warned the trouble makers to avoid messing the country up, as the succeeding generation was knocking. Therefore, he advised that the public should observe the rule of law while party stalwart should shun parochial embellishment and guide against inflammatory statement that has no value other than fire on the mountain. “The Diaspora has an antidote and can deliver” the former Ambassador added.

Solutions to Africa problems the Diplomat declared involved providing human resources and capacity building for sustainable development; “Turning brain-drain into brain-gain, inviting social media and technology to our system, banished ignorance, greed, thuggery and corruption”.

On the monitoring and perspective, he announced the Africa Heritage Research and Canter in the university in the Diaspora, the Africa Radio and Television Channels Voice had involved in celebration of Africa journey through the ages, assuring under his prerogative, were willing to engage and serve on “Africa Solutions to Africa Problems”.

Ambassador Adetunji and his pet AHF project are popular and have been fully recognized in the US. Little wonder the congratulatory letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on his victory on the last Nigeria Presidential election as well as facilitation letter written by the City of Montgomery and Montgomery County Commission, Alabama, during the recent President Buhari’s visit to US, was rooted through him and AHF.

CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich and Amb. Tunde with the USSA Award.

CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich and Amb. Tunde with the USSA Award.

And the biggest honour recently to Ambassador Adetunji was the conferment of the prestigious United States Sports Academy Award (USSA) for his immense contributions on the promotion of culture through the facilitation of sports and other developmental noble ideals.

In his address at the historic event, the USSA CEO, Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich affirmed that the award was given to Ambassador Adetunji, primarily for promoting Africa in the Diaspora and for actively involving in a wide range of areas including, “cultural revolution, economic development, education, technology research and service, health and prevention initiative, training, Brain gain, Sports and sporting activities, talent hunt and development.

Dr. Rosandich highlighted other focus of the foundation which include engaging in human resources and capacity building; tourism, broadcasting, consultancy and community projects supporting and charity to the indigents as well as homeless people.

“Against this background, the activities of the Foundation have gained the attention of several University institutions, corporate bodies, international and regional organizations such as United Nations (UN), Africa Union (AU) commission, Martin Luther King Center, CDC, World Affairs Council, City of Atlanta, Georgia State senate, universities and many others that have identified, endorsed and participated in the Foundation’s projects, over the years”, the USSA boss disclosed.

In the same vein, the academy which was established in 1972; overtime grew and flourished in more than 60 nations, gave the award to acknowledge the role of culture and sports would play internationally, on African growth and development.

In what could be considered the common area of interest of the AHF and USSA, the academy is historically instrumental in the documentation of great achievements in sports, as well as honoured athletes of repute in the past, such as Pelé, Michael Jordan and Muhammed Ali, while its campus is also home of the American Sport Art Museum and Archives. The formidable collection of the academy has hosted over 1,000 works of sports related art, as well as an outdoor sculpture park.

Dr. Rosandich acknowledged the pioneering initiative of the AHF whose cultural emancipation, vision, wisdom and knowledge through its “Celebrate Africa journey through the ages Exhibition”  which now serves as conduit to bridge the gap and build the bridge between the 55 nations of Africa, USA, the Diaspora, and the global community, adding the advent of the centennial Olympics 96 remained the catalysts which spread “Africa Cultural Revolution, diversity, renaissance and re-awakening to America”.

“The Foundation was consolidated largely because of initiatives that began and flourished in conjunction with the 1996 Centennial Olympics in Atlanta, most notable, the Africa-Atlanta Project. The award therefore signifies and recognizes the AHF’s role in advancing culture and opportunity, with sports as a medium”, Dr. Rosandich reiterated.

The renowned cultural Ambassador after receiving the award observed that sport and culture were inseparable, admitting that the Award  would encourage the AHF’s name to be ranked among the prolific achievers, sports celebrities, philanthropists, sports administrators and legends.

“The AHF celebrates its sincerity and excellence in the pursuit of developing the potential of individuals and providing a platform upon which academia, sports and development can stand tall. It is my vision to see the natural talents in athletes honoured and cultivated. We must develop the talents and life ambitions of our youth, and provide a pathway for them to achieve international recognition for their hard work”, the diaspora giant affirmed.

African House Expected to be commissioned in US by President Buhari later in September

African House Expected to be commissioned in US by President Buhari later in September

Ambassador Adetunji held that it was the Foundation’s honour and duty to represent and promote the continent of Africa and her nationals. The USSA award, he said was another achievement for Africa’s people and the Diaspora, to be proud of.

The Ambassador emphasized “In the light of the myriad of achievements, the AHF is pursuing the momentum tirelessly, spreading its works and lectures in capacity building, and cultivating human resources by way of invitation from the university systems of China, Brazil, and the Caribbean. Theseproceedings and dialogues are held with the ultimate objective of establishing new universities and centers. Advocating the alteration of ‘brain drain into brain gain’, the AHF is taking the battle for cultural development even as far as Australia”.

Similarly, he recalled the campaign for the first ever Africa FIFA World Cup, which was held in Johannesburg 2010, was pioneered by the AHF, just briefly after the successfully hosted  All-Africa games also in Johannesburg in 1999 was the lifetime achievements of the world late renowned anti-apartheid activist, Nelson Mandela.

Adetunji submitted: “In celebrating these great achievements for Africa, it was the Foundation’s honour to aid the facilitation of the World Cup’spresence in South Africa. Because of an achievement as momentous and recent as the hosting of the World Cup in Johannesburg, the AHF’s vision for Olympic presence in  Africa  as soon as 2024 or 2028 is too earnest to be ambitious”.

On the significance of the hosting, Ambassador Adetunji announced that the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, has delivered tremendous growth and progress to South Africa while its sub-region has been noted by the global community in many frontiers, noting that Africa was one of the premier emerging markets of the world, with showing of consistent economic growth, in spite of the recent global recession, according to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) statistics.

Ambassador Adetunji, assured that his intention was to honour Olympian medalists in the spirit of leadership, unity and cooperation, by hosting both a parade and creating a designated Hall of Fame for outstanding athletes in the 6th region of the African Union and the Diaspora with a view to continuing the crusade of ‘bridging the gap and building the bridge’.

He also hinted that he has secured invitation across the world for Lectures series on Africa solutions to Africa problems. AHF is the parent body of the subsidiaries such as Heritage Center/ Research Institute and the Africa Heritage Radio and Television Network (Voice Of Africa).

The official commissioning of AHF African House – a center for African issues in Alabama, was recently planned, but shifted. Yet, the event is due for late September, this year, during President Buhari United Nations (UN) meetings in US.

Finally, Ambassador Adetunji’s decade of achievements and success in the Diaspora are unarguably sources of pride to Nigeria; Africa and the global community. Indeed, they are a ” foot print on the sand of times and a Legacy of Excellence through service for generations yet unborn”.  Adetunji has gone far on this monumental and noble journey; certainly the sky is his limit, hence, there is every reason for him, the AHF and its affiliates to achieve success and glories in their thriving and promising tasks.



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