By Fidelis Ebu
Newly appointed Sports Minister and Chairman of the National Sports Commission, Ibrahim Bio, demonstrated his near emptinessÂ about Nigerian athletics development, when he declared that he will return Nigeria to winning ways in the long distance events.
Bio, while reeling out his mission statement last Friday, said that he will establish six zonal sporting centres across the country with the hope of nurturing talents that will represent Nigeria in future international events.
â€œBefore we were doing well in long distance. But today there is nothing like that any more because there is no proper planing,â€ Bio said in Abuja. Nigeria had never been known for long distance races but in the sprints and jumps.
Bio never had any sports background before Acting President Goodluck Jonathan appointed him to run sports.
Observers expected the man to take some days to learn a few things before public statements on technical matters. He had said that he would invite Eagles manager Lars Lagerback to map out new strategies for the World Cup. This was shortly after vowing not to be a football minister but one that would encourage all sports.
Twenty four hours later, he said it would be better to concentrate on Nigeriaâ€™s areas of strength since he had only 13 months to stay as minister. Continuing on his grassroots programme, Bio argued that school sports that was the nursery of Nigerian athletics prowess was no longer functioning.
â€œIf our schools inter-house sports and inter local government school sports are resuscitated, then our sports will be revived.â€
He said that efforts will be made to establish swimming centre in Port Harcourt and a high performance training centre at the Mambilla Plateau.