If there is anything that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) must be commended for is their consistent in carrying out their Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR.
Unlike other organisations, establishments or government agencies, CBN is one outfit that stands out amongst the rest. No matter the person in charge of affairs at the Apex Bank, they always follow suit. It is like a laid-down policy.
The CBN has been very supportive when it comes to sports especially Tennis. The sponsorship drive has spanned over 43 years. Last week, the CBN set the ball rolling with the Senior Open Tennis Championship. In order to make it more competitive, they raised the bar by increasing the prize money to N1,000,000 (one million naira) for the first positions in both men and women categories and other mouth watery prizes.
Meanwhile, the breakdown of the prize money has it that the winners of Men’s and Women Singles will go home with N1,000,000 (one million naira), while the Runners Up will take home N350,000.00 respectively.
Winners of Doubles in both categories will smile home with N110,000×2, Runners Up will grab N75,000×2, Wheel Chair Men’s and Ladies Singles winners will smile to the bank with N250,000 each while the Runners Up will go with N200,000 each.
During a press briefing to usher in the opening game of the Senior Tennis Championship, the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Nigeria Tennis Federation, NTF, Engr. Ifedayo Akindoju commended the CBN for sponsoring the championship and for their doggedness and steadfastness over the years.
Akindoju disclosed that the continuous increase in the prize money over the years have helped raised the standard of the game. He further said it has brought out the best in the players. “They are seriously motivated by the increase in the prize money and because of that the championship has become more competitive,” he noted.
He further revealed that the Apex Bank’s commitment was responsible for the development of Tennis in the country especially at the grassroot.
Recalled that the championships have produced several great talents over the years, notable amongst them is Jonathan Igbinovia, Nduka Odizor, who represented the country at various levels both at the continental and world levels.
Research has shown that many youths who had nothing to fall back to in the past have eventually find solace in Tennis. Many of them who don’t have a future, now have better future awaiting them as some of them are now enjoying patronages across the world.
More interesting is the fact that the CBN has given hope to tennis fans across the country and also encourage more people to fall in love with the game in a country where football is the only sports being loved.
During the championship which took place both in Lagos and Abuja respectively, football fans were seen everywhere around the tennis stands cheering the players up to high heavens.
However, the good thing is that CBN is not relenting as they are hell-bent of continuing to support the game that has brought joy to many.
Some Tennis experts however believe that with the unrelenting and continuous support by the Apex Bank, in no distance time, a Nigerian will emerge one day to participate in a Grand Slam. They are also confident that if others can emulate CBN in their Corporate Social Responsibilities, Nigeria will be a force to reckon with.
However, whether the championship was started by somebody before him or not, the fact that it was continued and the prize money increased, is worth commending hence the sports loving Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele and his foot soldiers deserve all the encomiums.