|General Muhammadu Buhari...weeps for our sports|
By Rotimi Fashakin (Engr.)
The Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), as a Party, joins concerned Nigerians at the import of the dismal performance of the Nigerian team at the recently concluded 2012 London Olympics where the country failed to register on the medals’ table, the worst in twenty four years.
Undoubtedly, this poor showing is an anti-climax to the peak reached in our Olympics participation with the Atlanta ’96 haul of six medals, including two gold medals! Indeed, this below-par showing is a fitting metaphor of the incompetence evinced in the political governance of the Nation in the last 30 months.
Nigeria’s name was first registered on Olympics medals’ table with Nojeem Mayegun’s boxing bronze medal at the 1964 Tokyo, Japan games. In all the Olympics participation, Nigeria has garnered a total of 23 medals, including 3 gold medals. A quick analysis of these showings revealed that Nigeria’s global sporting strength had shown clearly in five sporting events- Athletics, football, Boxing, Weightlifting and Taekwondo. The question is: what have we done to intensify our global mastery and dominance of these sporting activities? For instance, for many years, the Cubans dominated Boxing and the Chinese have refused to relinquish their tenacious hold on Table Tennis. In fact, in the London Olympics, two Chinese women competed in the singles’ final!
What is distressing is the laissez-faire posturing of the Nation’s Sports’ administrators after the games. Rather than showing nobility in offering his resignation and apologizing for dashing a Nation’s hopes, the Minister for Sports and Chairman of the National Sports Commission, Mr Bolaji Abdullahi, has been giving rather comical excuse for their colossal failure. The Director-General (DG) of the National Sports Commission, Chief Patrick Ekeji, said with an air impudent finality: “we tried our best.” Unfortunately, he has not found the courage to tell Nigerians, like his Political overseer, that since their best was not good enough for Nigeria, it is time to make way for others to try new initiatives at taking Nigeria to Olympian heights.
Jamaica has been able to showcase the many years of strident, meticulous and structured sporting program with its mercurial performance in the Track and Field events. Though beset with socio-cultural challenges like Nigeria, Jamaica has been able to weave together an institutional framework for sporting glory. Unlike Nigeria that still finds it comfortable in giving operation license for new schools with no sporting facilities, Jamaican Educational Institutions have bought into the National program for sporting excellence.
As a Party, we share the pains of Nigerians that, despite our status as the World’s most populous black Nation, Nigeria is tottering in world’s sports. It is our fervent hope that, rather than thinking of setting up a self-defeatist panel of enquiry to examine its own style of extemporaneous political governance, this Jonathan regime should just do the needful in setting the stage for sporting revolution.
God bless Nigeria.
Fashakin is the National Publicity Secretary of General Muhammadu Buhari's Congress of Progressive Change (CPC).