By Jacob Ajom
Popular boxing promoter and sports critic, Martins Osaele declared that the federal government of Nigeria is not serious in its avowed interest in the development of sports. Speaking against the background of of a seeming lack luster 18th National Sports Festival tagged Eko 2012.
Osaile said, “Nigeria is not a serious country. Imagine Jamaica with a population that is not up to that of Lagos state voted $300 million US Dollars (about N46 billion) while Nigeria’s budget for sports is just N9 billion,” Osaile said, asking, “how do you compete with such a country?”
He dismissed as “a huge joke” the Presidential Retreat on Sports held in Abuja last October, saying, “the government is just teasing the public. There is nothing serious about the retreat. They did not say anything new.”
He advised the ministry to engage technocrats in the execution of its programmes, “if they want us to takes them serious,” he said.
He also queried government’s inability to establish measures that could attract private sector participation in sports development. “There should be tax rebate for companies that sponsor sports and the importation of sports equipment should not attract any tariff at the ports,” he said.