Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former military administrator of Lagos state, has denied claims that he promised Chioma Ajunwa-Opara, 1996 Olympic gold medalist, a house gift.
Ajunwa became Nigeria’s only individual Olympic gold medalist and the first black African woman to win a gold medal in a field event at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
There were, however, media reports that Oyinlola had promised her a house for winning the gold medal in the long jump category.
The reports circulated the internet on Thursday after Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos state governor, handed over a three-bedroom apartment to the assistant commissioner of police in “fulfillment of Oyinlola’s promise to the athletes.”
But in a statement on Friday, the former governor of Osun state said what he promised Ajunwa and the other Olympic medalists twenty-five years ago were plots of land.
“I hosted the Nigerian contingent to the 1996 Olympic games at the National Stadium, Lagos on Saturday August 10, 1996. At the event, I announced the donation, by the Lagos State Government, of one plot of land in Lekki to each of Chioma Ajunwa, Falilat Ogunkoya, Mary Onyali, Duncan Dokiwari, Fatima Yusuf, Charity Opara and 18 members of the Under-23 soccer team,” the statement read.
“I announced the gifts publicly and it was carried by all newspapers, radio and television stations in the country. Indeed, it was the front page lead report of The Guardian of August 11, 1996. I made it clear that the 24 plots of land were complete with all the titles. Did Ajunwa get that plot of land? How about the others?
“For two members of the gold-winning Under-23 football team who hailed from Lagos State, Joseph Dosu and Teslim Fatusi, I announced that the state would build for each of them a 2-Bedroom apartment in any place of their choice.
“I also announced a gift of N2 million for sharing by the officials and all other members of the contingent who could not win a medal.”