ExxonMobil, NBA Africa and PanAfricare today tipped off the 10th edition of the Power Forward Finals, which is taking place in Abuja from Sept. 19-21. 2015 NBA champion Festus Ezeli and 2015 AfroBasket champion Olumide Oyedeji are spearheading the finals’ activities with Oyedeji tipping off the event earlier today by leading a Jr. NBA clinic for 1,200 boys and girls ages 16 and under at the MO Arena.
Established in 2013, the Power Forward youth development program has provided life skills and public health awareness seminars, malaria prevention workshops and basketball development programming to more than 250,000 boys and girls across 40 schools in Abuja. This year’s program included a basketball tournament from June through September that featured 30 boys’ teams and 12 girls’ teams, with the top eight girls’ teams and top 10 boys’ teams participating in the playoffs and the top two girls’ and boys’ teams in the playoffs advancing to the Power Forward Finals.
In addition to the on-court competition, the event will feature an alumni summit ahead of the championship games at the M.K.O. Abiola National Stadium on Sept. 21 that will engage 500 former Power Forward participants on the program’s impact.
“Over the past decade, our partnership with NBA Africa and PanAfricare on the Power Forward initiative has promoted youth development through sports, life skills, and public health education,” said ExxonMobil Foundation President, Alvin Abraham. “This impactful program has benefitted more than 250,000 young Nigerians and empowered them to use the leadership skills they learned to work towards a brighter future for Nigeria.”
“We are excited to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Power Forward program as we build on our long-standing commitment to positively impacting the Abuja community,” said NBA Africa Vice President and Country Head of Nigeria Gbemisola Abudu. “The initiative utilizes the transformative power of basketball to educate young people about public health awareness while instilling critical life skills such as teamwork and leadership and we’re encouraged about the influence the program has had to date.”
“Power Forward in its 10th year has contributed to raising over 8,000 malaria champions and public health advocates,” said PanAfricare Nigeria Country Director Dr. Patrick Adah. “The positive impact of the project has transformed the lives of youths in 40 schools in the Federal Capital Territory. Through an effective and collaborative partnership, the project has metamorphosed into a model program which we look to continue to expand.”