BY JOHN EGBOKHAN
Nigeria’s participation at he Commonwealth Games, opening tomorrow in Glasgow is heading for catastrophe following the decision of the Ministry of Sports and National Sports Commission to starve sports federations officials and the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) of funds to prosecute a successful outing at the Games.
Sports Vanguard investigations show that the NSC, under the leadership of Dr. Tamuno Nanagogo, wants the sports federations to embark on revenue drives that could sustain them. It was against this background that the Nigerian contingent to the Commonwealth Games that start today in Glasgow, Scotland, has had a tale of woes with regard to their preparation. Their preparation was poor because they could not raise the money to prepare their athletes.
It would not be too strange if the athletes miss out on the medals table. It is on record that most of the athletes only went on training tour about a week to the Games. It is also on record that as at last night, most heads of the federations were yet to travel for the Games, because of non-release of funds by the NSC.
Except for the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, whose President Solomon Ogba invested a lot of fund to train some athletes and also poach foreign athletes like American Mark Jelks to run 100m for Nigeria in Glasgow, other federations heads were left in limbo and are now in grave danger of watching the Games from the television screens from home.
But the situation is a totally hopeless one for the NOC, the body responsible for presenting Nigerian athletes at the Glasgow Games. Investigations made by Sports Vanguard show that the NOC was denied of funds by the NSC. It was gathered that the funds were meant for NOC to execute their statutory duties in Glasgow. But as as last night, the NSC was yet to release a kobo to the NOC.
“This is a bad situation but what can we do but to keep on hoping that things will change”, said a source in the NOC, who wished Nigeria well in Glasgow.
“We wish Nigeria well but the thing that the NSC does not realise is that we complement them at the Games. They cannot do it alone. They need us to get things done in Glasgow and if they deny us of funds, then they are denying Nigeria of victory”, said the NOC source.
But in its reaction, a ministry source said the NOC should stop running cap in hand to the Ministry for funds during international competitions.
“They should be self-sufficient and stop begging for money every time that we are competing in international competitions. We have prepared the athletes and believe that our best will yield us medals in Glasgow”, added the NSC source.