By Onochie Anibeze in London
Sen. Uche Chukwumerije on Monday in London called for sanctions against all the people responsible for the country’s failure to win medals at the just-concluded 2012 London Olympic Games.
Chukwumerije, who was reacting to the failure of Team Nigeria to win medals at the Games told newsmen in London,
before his departure for Nigeria that what had happened in London was a “national shame”.
He said Nigerians must act to check the tradition of impunity where whatever happens is presumed to be“God’s wish.”.
“I believe that now the first and foremost thing that must be done is that somebody will have to take responsibility.
“If Nigeria had gotten one single gold medal, they would have been bloating and rejoicing.
“In the same way, when we fail, they should be punished because they are the people at the head. And so, all those at the head of sporting authorities from the minister to the head of the ministry should be sacked.
“This will serve as a deterrent to others so that they know that in Nigeria there must be a reward or punishment for role performance.
“ Role performance is never done in Nigeria. When you finish whatever you are doing, you go behind and bribe one official or the other and criticise or politicise it with one person who is your brother or sister from the same tribe.
“The first thing to be done is to have an objective assessment of role performance and attribution of responsibility for success or failure, first to the political heads, secondly to head of the various sports,” he said.
He noted that the current trend could be arrested by engaging foreign technical experts to coach the athletes.
“On the surface it means getting foreign expertise; we have done enough empty national ego.
“Sports have gone very, very scientific all over the world except in Nigeria.
“We should get somebody, who will help us to get the requirement for each event. What is the pattern and level of skills wanted for each event and we will know what to do.”
According to him, a situation where Nigeria appears helpless is not in the best interest of the development of sports.
The results from the Games concluded on Sunday was reminiscent of the failure at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games in South Korea where the country failed to win a single medal.
This was a direct opposite of the best the country achieved at the 1996 Games at the Atlanta Games, where the country finished with two gold medals – from athletics and football event.
Sports minister, Bolaji Abdullahi, while admitting failure at a news conference in London, described the predicament of Team Nigeria as a clear testimony of the decline in Nigerian sports.
He said, however, that Nigeria should learn lessons from the failure instead of giving excuses.
“We shall, therefore, not attempt any excuses or indulge in any unproductive blame game. We must not see this as a failure; we must see it as an opportunity to rebuild.
“When other countries found themselves in this kind of situation in the past, they have used the galvanizing power of disappointment to get down to work,” he said.