NIGERIA’S disastrous performance at the just- concluded London Olympic Games was kept on the front burner yesterday as President Goodluck Jonathan ordered “a total and comprehensive re-organisation” of the sports sector to avert further embarrassment to the nation.
The Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku who disclosed the president’s position was , however, silent on those who may be affected by the presidential directive.
The minister said that the president had directed the convocation of a national retreat where all stakeholders, including state governments and the private sector would participate towards re-ordering national priorities in the sports sector.
And piqued by the failure of Nigeria at the Olympic Games, erstwhile Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Abubakar Tsav, has urged the International Organising Committee (IOC) to include in its competitions a game to be called corruption and dishonesty so that Nigeria would return home next time with gold and other laurels.
Tsav who spoke with journalists in Makurdi said the performance in London was a show of shame, noting that if it were election rigging and struggle for appointment and offices Nigerians would have performed better.
Despite spending about N2.2 billion on the London Games, Nigeria could not register her name on the medal table. But at the 1998 Barcelona Games, Nigeria won six medals - two gold, one silver and three bronze medals. At the Sydney Games in 2000, Nigeria won one gold and two silver medals. In Athens 2004, Nigeria won two bronze medals while at the 2008 Beijing Games the country recorded one silver and two bronze medals.
Maku addressing journalists at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) said: “President Goodluck Jonathan today ordered total and comprehensive re-organisation of the sports sector following the disappointing performances of Nigerian contingent to the London 2012 Olympics.
“The President accordingly directed a national retreat which will involve state governments as well as the private sector to re-order priorities in the Nigerian sports sector. He said what took place in London must be the beginning of a new momentum to place Nigerian sports at a level that will enable this country to return to the glory it is known for in the areas of sports.
“President Jonathan believes for us to change the present scenario we need to specialize, we need to plan and we need to fund sports in a way that this country will continue to make impact in the sporting sector. He believes that the next Commonwealth Games and the 2016 Olympics in Brazil must enable Nigeria to set specific targets and realize them in order to promote our sports development. He also called for a new direction in sports management as well as funding and planning. He believes that what this nation needs at the moment is to take a sober look at what has happened and indeed change the scenario by working hard on all that we need to do to return the sporting sector to his glory.”
The council also approved the contract for the rehabilitation of the Obudu dam in Cross River State. The total cost of the contract is N1.165 billion.
Maku explained that “this dam which belongs to the Federal Government has been in a state of disrepair. And the Honorable Minister of Water Resources (Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe) brought this memo to enable the Cross River State government to carry out its regional urban water supply project which will cover four communities of Obudu, Ogoja, Ikom, and Calabar.
“The Cross River State government has since 2005 got an International Development Association loan to develop the regional water scheme that will meet the needs of these communities in Cross River. And because of the state of Obudu dam, it has been impossible for that project to commence.”