Mayweather: Brother comes to motherland
To Visit Ogbunike Cave
It’s now confirmed that the retired world boxing champion and boss of The Money Team (TMT), Floyd Joy Mayweather Jr. will be visiting Nigeria on Monday, June 12, 2017. Mayweather, who has already notified the world of his planned three-day visit to motherland through a YouTube video, is expected to touch down at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, with his team of about 15.
After a brief chat with the media on arrival at the Enugu Airport, Mayweather will head straight for Ogbunike community in Oyi Local Council of Anambra State, via helicopter, where he will tour the popular Ogbunike Cave, one of the major tourist attractions in the country. The boxer, who will be accompanied by youth of the community, including members of the Central Working Committee for the yearly Ogbunike Cave Carnival (OCC), is expected to inscribe his name on the wall of the Cave to register his presence at the site.
Located in a valley blanketed by tropical rain forest, the collection of caves has been in use over centuries by local people for whom it has particular spiritual significance. This spiritual significance is still apparent, as the ‘Ime Ogba’ celebration is undertaken every year to commemorate the discovery of the caves.
Descending into the valley where the caves are located is a lengthy walkway made up of about 317 steps constructed by the Anambra State Government in the mid 90s. However, visitors must remove their shoes before entering the caves, as per tradition, while women, who are having their monthly circle, cannot go in.
The main cave consists of a massive structure with a big open chamber of about 5m high, 10m wide and 30m long at the entrance. There are ten tunnels at the main chamber leading to different directions. Within the tunnels are big chambers and other tunnels of varying lengths, some of which are inter connected. The caves are occupied by a large colony of bats of various sizes.
There are streams and body of water at various places. A stream flows out from one of the tunnels into a rapid flowing river (River Nkissa). At the meeting point of the river and the stream, one can feel the warm water from the caves and the cold river water. Beside this portion of the river is a tableland of about 5 X 5 square meters used as a relaxation spot by visitors to the caves.
With sufficient boundaries (20 hectares) to protect its values from direct effects of human encroachment, the caves have retained the same biodiversity for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, Anambra State Government seems to be grappling with ideas on how best to develop the cave into a destination. But with Floy Mayweather’s visit, it’s obvious that the matter will once again return to front burner.
From the cave, Mayweather and his team will move to the Round Palace of the traditional ruler of Ogbunike, HRM, Igwe John Ositadimma Umenyiora (Ezedioramma 1) for a reception that will feature cultural displays, dance and musical performance. From the Round Palace, the team will move to Awka, the Anambra State capital for other engagements, before visiting Akwa Ibom, Abuja and then Lagos. The boxer will depart Nigeria for Ghana on June 15, from where he will move to Monrovia, Liberia.
Speaking ahead of the visit, Mayweather said, “We’ll look at potential young people to support their businesses. We’ll meet with businessmen and women and see how we can collaborate and support their business, encourage them on how to get things done right and easier.
“You may know that apart from being a great sports man, which is part of my greatest achievement, I have also had the opportunity of investing in a lot of business around the world and Nigeria has become one of them, so we want to help lots of people achieve their dreams,” he said.
Speaking at a press conference held recently in Lagos to herald the historic visit, the CEO of Terazzini Group of Companies, Donatus Okonkwo said Floys Mayweather’s visit to Nigeria is strategic, as it will help to boost the nation’s tourism and image.
“Floyd is a 49 times undefeated boxing champion in the world. Nigerian boxers have not been doing well, so with Floyd’s coming, we will be able to set up a boxing academy with the necessary facilities needed to train youths with boxing skills. While he will be here, we will get him accustomed to Nigeria way of life,” he said.
Okonkwo informed that Mayweather’s itinerary includes visits to tourist centres and sport complexes in Nigeria, as well as a charity fight with speaker of the House of Representative Yakubu Dagara, on June 14, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
“During his visit to Anambra State, he will be visiting the Ogbunike Cave, in Abuja, the IDP camp. In Lagos and Uyo, the undefeated champion in the welterweight category will be making a historic visit to the state governors. He will also inaugurate the newly built sport centre in Uyo,” Okonkwo said.
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