2016 Olympics: Is Nigeria On Another Wild Goose Chase?

It is yet another Olympics year and participating countries from across the globe will converge in RIO De Jeinairo, Brazil to compete for honours in the various Olympics sports events.
For Nigeria, the nation is once again set to fly the national flag in Brazil despite their shambolic outing at the London Olympics four years ago where Nigeria performed woefully without a medal to show for all the tax payers money expended on Team Nigeria preparatory to the games through their camping, the qualifiers and the main events.
The only difference this time however is that compared to the London Olympics, while athletes enjoyed their camping and participated in all the qualifiers for the events on that occasion, the exact opposite is that this time as all the Federations are bedeviled with absence of funds for their preparations well ahead of the games.
While most of the Federations have no funds to camp their athletes for the participating events, other Federations who sourced their funds from only God knows where are handicapped when it comes to funding their trips for the various qualifying events across Africa.
As the dark cloud continue to hang on Nigeria’s participation at the Olympics games in Brazil, many followers of government attitudes towards our sports development are divided over what they termed as the insensitiveness of past governments to funding of major sporting events while others blame it on the corrupt attitude of our sports administrators who lined their pockets with money made for such events, putting the Federations at their mercies.
Of note is the recent rumours emanating from the Ministry of Youth and Sports that President Buhari has told the Minister of Youth and Sports Development and his Permanent Secretary to account for the N2.8 billion he had approved for the All African Games and the Olympics preparations before any further funds can be approved fo them.
While some argued that in the Civil Service parlance, approval are different from releases, others maintained that the said N2.8 Billion was released to the National Sports Commission, NSC under the then Director General, Alhassan Yakmut who was recently redeployed to the Ministry of Niger Delta Development as the Director of Special Duties following the rummoured scrapping of the NSC by the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation (HOSF).
Following these accusations and counter accusations, the Federations are incapacitated and are at a crossroad on where else to run to for funds to prosecute their camping and qualifiers.
With some sports loving Nigerians of the opinion that President Buhari should no longer release any more funds for the Olympics, bearing in mind that the time frame left between now and June when the games gets underway in RIO and with little or no preparation, Nigeria would be worst for it. Compared to what transpired at the London Olympics where the team was well prepared but performed woefully without a medal to show for it.
One enthusiast of Nigerian sports who have been monitoring the funding controversies as they unfold confided to nationalTrail Sports that if a well prepared Team Nigeria to the London Olympics could not come home with a medal an ill prepared team Nigeria to the RIO Olympics would be worse and may not return home with even a spoon.
According to him, I think Nigeria should forget going to RIO Olympics let the money meant for that Jamboree be channeled towards the development of athletes for future Olympics where our athletes would be well prepared with some medals hopeful.
On the other side, proponent of must be at the Olympics in RIO argued that what will be the fate of athletes who have laboured through sheer determination and empty stomach to qualified for their events without government assistance.
On the whole, if the government agreed for the Nations flag to fly in RIO, we must first go back to the basics and find out what really went wrong with our preparations for the Olympics.
President Buhari with his anticorruption agency must get to the roofs of what happened to the N2.8 billion meant for the All Africa Games and the preparation for the Olympics Games by asking the Ministry of Sports to account for the money.
Again, as at the time of releasing that money, a Minister of Sports was not in place, so it behoves on the Permanent Secretary and the Director General of the National Sports Commission, NSC to tell Nigerians how the money was disbursed to the extent that none was left to prosecute preparations for the Olympics.
President Buhari should also come out openly to clear the air on the true position of the NSC merger with the Sports Ministry or otherwise because the NSC is the engine room of the sports development in the country and without the technical experts at the NSC, what will Nigeria be taking to Brazil?


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