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Should Nigeria go to the next Olympics?

By Morenike Taire

THE Minister in charge of Nigerian sports, Bolaji Abdulahi, was referred to by Lagos State governor Babatunde Raji Fashola as “the only Sports Minister” he had ever known “who actually understands sports.” Don’t blame Nigerians therefore, for believing him when he exhibited so much optimism about the chances of team Nigeria beating its last performances in the one-in-four-years event in London this year.

In lavish ceremonies in which the youthful minister complained about inadequate funding compared with funding of sports in relatively advanced nations, he nevertheless assured that all that could be done had been done.

It would be a chicken and egg argument, if one were to be entered into about whose responsibility it is to ensure athletes are adequately prepared for international competitions to which Nigeria is subscribed.

What is beyond any sort of argument is that there was not, and with all kinds of scandals brewing underneath it all and athletes being paid to shut up, the question is how, if Nigeria cannot subsidize all kinds of essential goods and services to her citizens, can she afford to keep staging all these jamborees in the name of sports.

In a country whose so called leaders have become famous for bleeding it dry, perhaps it is better, for the avoidance of doubt, for the funds put into sponsoring jamborees for competitions to be put into the building of sports infrastructure and resources here at home. Enough is enough.

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