By Philips Adefioye
Atlanta â€˜96 Under-23 gold medal winning coach, Willy Bazuaye walked into Campos square in Lagos
last Sunday in crutches lamenting how he was abandoned after suffering stroke, waiting to die until God used Lagos State governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) to rescue him from the jaws of death.
According to him, not even the Nigeria Football Association, NFA which he served nor his own state government, be it the discredited regime of Lucky Igbinedion, that of Professor Osariemen Osunbor nor even the much acclaimed government of the people led by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole looked his way.
A private television station based in Lagos brought Bazuayeâ€™s plight to the public and Chairman of Vanguard Mediaâ€™s Editorial Board, Ikeddy Isiguzo did a follow up to story and man of the people, Governor Fashola picked interest in the matter and ordered his transfer to Lagos for treatment.
An appreciative Bazuaye will not just keep quiet but prefer to openly than the governor by visiting him during one of his interaction with the people through the All Stars football fellowship at the Campos Square last Sunday and Saturday Vanguard sports men, Philips Adefioye and Sylva Eleanya were there to capture the event both in print and on camera.
In thanking the governor in the presence of his wife Mrs. Mabel Bazuaye and brother, Ekpen Bazuaye, the former New Nigeria Bank of Benin Football Club coach said that but for the benevolence of Fashola whom God used to touch his life, he would have been a forgotten man by now after being bed-ridden for about seven years.
â€œIt was a partial stroke which affected my left hand and left leg. That fateful day, I went to the bathroom to take my bath, while there, I fell down and had a fracture on my back. Since then I have been battling to cure the stroke.
â€œIt is God who isÂ using Governor Fashola to help many people.
The governorÂ came to my aid at the right time, if not for God and Fashola, I would have been a dead person by now. Even my state, Edo did not do anything for me right from the tenure of Lucky Igbinedion. We tried our best to reach out to him for assistance but all our effort proved abortive.
â€œEven the NFA which I did my best for did nothing for me. I was abandoned like a faded cloth until Fashola came to my rescue. Let me tell you, the tables and the chairs in the NFA knew that I was sick but both theÂ NFA and the National Sports Commission, NSC, did nothing,â€ he lamented.
Bazuaye disclosed to Saturday Vanguard sports that Governor Fashola has been footing hisÂ hotel and hospital bills since he arrived Lagos.
â€œWhen Fashola heard that I was sick,Â he ordered that I should be brought down from Benin to Lagos, I was flown in from Benin and admittedÂ in one of the best hospitals here. I owe Fashola a lot, I canâ€™t thank him enough but Iâ€™ll continue to pray for him, Lagos State and his family. If we have hundreds of Fashola in this country, this country Nigeria will be a better place,â€ the recuperating coach surmised.
His wife Mrs Bazuaye was full of praises to God for mercy on her husband and thanked Governor Fashola profusely for his kind gesture and his good heart.
According to Mrs Bazuaye, â€œI would have been a widow if not for the Almighty God who has used Governor Fashola to come to our aid when no help was coming from the state (Edo) we came from. I thank God and I pray that He in his infinite mercy will continue to prosper the loving Governor and Lagos State.â€
Ekpen Bazuaye also showered praises on Governor Fashola for â€œbeing kind to Nigerians, irrespective of their tribe.Â I wish other governors could emulate his kind gestures.â€