Following the abysmal performance of the Nigerian contingent to the 2012 London Olympics, President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday ordered a comprehensive re-organisation of the sports sector.
Minister of Information, Labaran Maku disclosed this in Abuja after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by the president.
“President Goodluck Jonathan today ordered for total and comprehensive re-organisation of the sporting sector, following the disappointing performances of Nigerian contingent to the London 2012 Olympics. The president accordingly directed for a national retreat which will involve state governments as well as the private sector to re-order priorities in the Nigerian sporting sector.He said what took place in London must be the beginning of a new momentum to place Nigerian sports at a level that will enable this country to return to the glory it is known for in the area of sports”, Maku said.
The information minister also said: “President Jonathan believes for us to change the present scenario we need to specialise, we need to plan and we need to fund sports in a way that this country will continue to make impact in the sporting sector.He believes that the next Commonwealth Games as well as the 2016 Olympics in Brazil must enable Nigeria to set specific targets and realise them in order to promote our sports development. He also called for a new direction in sports management as well as funding and planning. He believes that what this nation needs at the moment is to take a somber look at what has happened and indeed change the scenario by working hard on all that we need to do to return the sporting sector to his glory.’’
Maku said the president, like other Nigerians, was not pleased with the performance of the contingent to the London Olympics and directed remedial actions be taken to prepare the country for better performances in subsequent competitions.
He explained that the re-organisation process would be comprehensive and would include the nation’s sporting policies
The president, according to the minister, also underscored the need for re-examination of national attitude to competitions.
He said there would also be need for the country to identify specific sports on which to concentrate resources and energy.
According to him, the identified specialised sports would be the nation’s priority that Nigeria would be identified with in global competitions.
He added that all stakeholders including the states, the Federal Government and the private sector would come together in the re-organisation process.
Maku assured that in the next couple of weeks Nigerians would see actions in that area to ensure the total overhaul of the sector.
Nigeria spent N2.2 billion to participate in the London Olympics, but brought nothing home to show for the huge expenditure.
The United States, China and the host, Great Britain emerged first, second and third, respectively on the final medals table.
At the 1992 Barcelona Games, Nigeria won 3 silver medals, one bronze.
At the 1996 Atlanta Games, Nigerian athletes won six medals – two gold; one silver and three bronze medals.
At the Sydney Games in 2000, Nigeria won one gold and two silver medals.
In Athens 2004, the nation won two bronze medals while the 2008 Beijing Games recorded one silver and two bronze medals.