I waited to write this article till the last event in the 12th IAAF event in Berlin,Germany and the last evenT was men’s 4x400 metres relay. I waited because I thought Nigerian team might have a chance to get at least a bronze, however I was proved wrong.
I am very worried at the current state of affairs in Nigeria because nothing is working and it seems that people at the leadership level are not bothered. [IAAF Medal Table] clearly shows that Nigeria with a population of about 140 million people could not win a single medal while African countries like Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa won 11, 8, and 3 medal respectively. I do not want to mention countries like Jamaica with 13 medals. If african countries can win so much medals, then what is wrong with Nigeria.
In the course of investigating what could be the cause for Nigeria’s woos, I decided to compare some vital factors, [THE WORLD IN 2OO8] gave the following vital figures: GDP: Nigeria($212bn), Kenya($25bn) and Ethiopia ($20bn). Also the figures in terms of GDP per head are Nigeria($1,020), Kenya($640) and Ethiopia ($229). Based on these financial information, economy is not an issue. What is the cause then?
[Onyali-Omagbemi] blames Carl Lewis for decline of Nigeria’s athletics in the sense that Carl Lewis asked his home government not to give scholarships to Nigerian sports men and women in place of his fellow Americans because Nigerians were at that time out numbering the Americans. I completely disagree with Mary because Carl Lewis spoke out of patrotism and it is the responsibilty of the Nigerian government to develop her citizens and not that of America.
I wonder what the score card of the Nigerian minister of sports will look like, I have not being priviledged to see it, however I doubt if the president ever bothered to carry out performance evaluation for the federal ministers, otherwise the sports miniter ought to have been fired by now.
Olympic games is coming up in London in 2012 and nobody knows what will be the strategy of Nigeria since we did not do well in Beijing in 2008, other countries are already preparing. I believe Nigerians are waiting till few months to the commencement of the event and the so called pastors (business men) cum prayer warriors will start to milk the athlets in the name of offering prayers for them to win medals. If this is the strategy, I assure those people zero medal.
How can we come out of this mess? Please I beckon on the readers to profer suggestions on the way forward. To kick start the process I make the following suggestions:-
• Whoever is the current sports minister should be sacked
• The position of the minister of sports should be advertised in the Nigerian news media
• A foreign recruitment agency should recuit a Nigerian as the sports minister
• The new sports minister should be given tasks and target which will be short term, medium term and long terms
• The new minister should be placed on probation for one year and if he fails to deliver or show strong signs of capability, he should be sacked and the second person in the list during the recruitment should be called.
I strongly believe that if the right person is made the minister of sports, the system will change after a couple of years. However if we continue to make political thugs ministers then we will continue to achieve zero medal in key events.
‘’IAAF Medal Table’’(2009)‘’12th IAAF World Champioship in Athletics- Berlin 2009’’ (Online)
Available from http://berlin.iaaf.org/results/medals/index.html (Accessed 23.08.2009)
Onyali-Omagbemi (22nd August, 2009) ‘’Onyali-Omagbemi blames Carl Lewis for decline of Nigeria’s athletics’’ (Online). Available from: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2009/08/22/onyali-omagbemi-blames-carl-lewis-for-decline-of-nigeria%e2%80%99s-athletics (Accessed 23.08.2009)
‘’THE WORLD IN 2OO8’’ (2008) ‘’The world in figures: Countries’’ (Online). Available from:
http://www.economist.com/theworldin/forecasts/COUNTRY_PAGES_2008.pdf (Accessed 23.08.2009)