Leadership (Abuja)

16 August 2012

Nigeria: Olympic Flop - Heads to Roll As Jonathan Orders Sports Sector Shake-Up

Photo: Facebook/TeamNigeria
Nigeria's Football Team

After the poor outing of Nigerian contingent at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered a comprehensive restructuring of the sports sector.

The president also directed that a national retreat should be organised involving state governments and the private sector to re-order priorities in the Nigerian sporting sector.

Minister of information, Mr. Labaran Maku, stated this yesterday while briefing State House correspondents alongside his water resources counterpart, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided by President Jonathan.

Maku 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 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 return to the glory it is known for in the areas of sports."

The 2012 Olympic Games has been described as the country's poorest outing after featuring in athletics, football and tennis with impressive beginning, but ending up without a medal.

Maku said President Jonathan expressed belief that the next Commonwealth Games and the 2016 Olympics in Brazil must enable Nigeria sets specific targets and realise them in order to promote sports development.

He said the president 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 sober 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 its glory," the minister said adding that the president believes funding can no longer be left to the government alone but must involve the private sector to generate sufficient resources.

"So, in the next couple of weeks you are going to see action in this area as we prepare to work and ensure that Nigeria in subsequent events, takes its proper place within the continent and globally in sporting competitions," he added.

Maku also disclosed that at the FEC, the minister of water resources brought a memo seeking approval for a contract to rehabilitate the Obudu Dam in Cross River State, which was approved and awarded at the cost of N1.66 billion.

According to the information minister, the dam which belongs to the Federal Government has been in a state of disrepair and the minister brought this memo to enable Cross River state government carry out its regional urban water supply project which will cover four communities of Obudu, Ogoja, Ikom, and Calabar.

The Cross River State government has since 2005 obtained an International Development Association loan to develop the regional water scheme that will meet the needs of these communities and because of the state of Obudu dam it has been impossible for that project to commence.

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