The Rio 2016 Olympic Games which set sail on the 5th of August is on the home stretch to its conclusion and Nigeria, the giant of Africa is yet to appear on the Olympic medals table. The Olympics, the greatest competitive sports event in the World, is a veritable barometer for measuring not only the competitiveness of nations but also soundness of leadership in all ramifications.
It is not a fluke at all that the top Olympic leading nations of the world are also top leaders in global economy, science and technology, citizens welfare, development, soundness of national politics. Hence, it is something to worry about that the giant of Africa, Nigeria, if really, Nigeria is, that the Rio 2016 Olympics is the way it is for Nigeria.
On all counts, Nigeria experiences at the Rio Olympics are awful and disgraceful. Nigerian leaders must think again. There is nowhere to hide for inept leadership as sports will expose fully the ineptitude of nations. It is an objective instrument for doing so. As Nigeria is failing in Rio, it is a measure of national failure, not only in sports but also in politics, economy, science and technology and leadership. You can check it out on our development indices in these sectors.
Are we doing well? Certainly, No.
It takes planning, programmed and systematic execution, good leadership, focused investment to win medals at the Olympics. It is these same measures that lead to national development. So, it is indisputable therefore, that failure to win medals or leave up to expectations in two consecutive Olympics is an abysmal national failure. Yet other African countries are already on the medals table. Check out South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Egypt, Algeria, they are on the Olympic medals table.
A nation that can tolerate someone like Solomon Dalung as Sports Minister, by all indications is unserious about sports development. What are his characterizations? Solomon Dalung has a very repugnant personality. His public behaviour is very distasteful to majority of people.
If a Sports Minister’s public dispositions are so repugnant, surely it would elicit negative responses. His mode of dressing is a great aberration and a lot of people have complained and he does not change. He has exported this attitude to Brazil.
Some camps of Team Nigeria in Rio have banned him from getting close to their training grounds and hotels. This is a failure of leadership. Mr. Solomon Dalung is on rampage in Rio parading his ignorance of the Olympic dynamics. He does not know that the Olympics is owned by the IOC, i.e. International Olympic Committee which relates with, not the minister but the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC).
The face of Nigeria at Olympic Games should be the President of Nigeria Olympic Committee, not Minister Solomon Dalung. Yet Gumel is anonymous due to the over bearing attitude of the Sports Minister. This is not the way to go about winning medals at the Olympics. The youths are not to blame, Nigerian youths have athletic talent, they have anthrometric features to compete and win just like their counterparts from other countries.
Our major bane is poor and inept sports leadership enthroned by politicians. A nation that puts up someone like Solomon Dalung as Sports Minister is definitely not serious about sports development. He is a wrong footed Sports Minister.
If Mr. President cares about the preponderant public opinion on this man, I believe he should please redeploy him to another portfolio, if he cannot be sacked.
This verdict of failure at Rio Olympics is not good for the Giant of Africa.
Prof Emmanuel Ojeme writes at [email protected]