Former Nigeria international basketball star, Ejike Ugboaja his foundation, the Ejike Ugboaja Foundation, remains committed to empower Nigerian youths through sports.
Speaking to newsmen in Abuja on the foundation annual camp, Ugboaja says his foundation would to continue to collaborate with schools in United States of America to expose more Nigerian talents to get scholarship from American colleges and also go on to play in the money spinning America Basketball Association (NBA) league and American Football League (AFL).
He said a total of 15 outstanding participants will be given scholarship to study and play basketball in the United States of America (USA) and Nigeria in this season Ejike Ugboaja Foundation camp which will hold in three states of Nasarawa, Anambra and Kaduna respectively.
According to him, he has been further encouraged by the #ENDSars protest and many challenges confronting Nigeria to expand the activities of the foundation to empower more youth.
“The Ejike Ugboaja Foundation is my own little way of giving back to the Nigerians with the crisis going on in Nigeria which includes #ENDSsars and everything that has been happening in the country, it come to my mind why the foundation has been very important on it yearly activities which we might increase it because we want to help the youth go to school instead of be on the streets.
“We’re going to three different states this season and I’m urging the youths to get involve in sports and see how we can help them to go to school and make sure they meet their dream of better life.
“The foundation just concluded Nasarawa State camp which was a huge success and we gave scholarship to three players. We’re going to Anambra this weekend to continue and after that we head to Kaduna. We are trying to get 15 youth to give them scholarship before the end of this year,” he said.
Ugboaja, who holds the record of being the first African to be drafted to the NBA directly from Africa, said the foundation he started after he was drafted to the Cleveland Cavaliers, has given educational opportunities for over 2000 young Nigerian athletes in the United States and Nigeria since its inception in 2006 as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative.
“Over 2000 Nigerian youths are now in the US and they all have their degree with some of them have masters and living a better life,” Ugboaja added.
He said the Foundation has recorded multiple successes by secured scholarships in high schools and colleges across the United States for the athletes selected from its annual summer camps and called corporate organisations and individuals to partner the foundation provide educational opportunity for more Nigerian youths.