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Nigeria: Hey I'm in Algiers, How About That
Here in the Algerian capital where many communities of the African sports family have gathered to celebrate sports in one accord, every visiting delegation has its mission statement, some to compete and win, some came to develop their athletes and for some others, especially in the Nigerian camp, it's a holiday and a festival of estacodes collection.
The number of Nigerian officials far outstrips the number of athletes here and indeed, they are painting Algiers red with dollars. It's amazing to see all manners of government officials all the way from far out places like Borno coming here to hang out for a couple of days and then fly back to Nigeria.
These officials collected full estacodes from their government, they come here, do some shopping, then zap back to Nigeria smiling broadly to their respective banks.
Of course, this is no news; this has been the usual practice wherever there is an international Games; Nigerian politicians become sports administrators, supporters club members and commissioners of sports, that is the way things have been going for the past 20 years and they would continue to be until Nigerians start questioning those they entrusted with governance, how they spend the money in public coffers.
It is a jamboree and it is really painful to see those who have nothing to contribute to sports lofting around hotel lobbies just bidding their time and winking to Algerian girls all in the name of coming to the All Africa Games.
How can Nigeria explain this kind of indulgence, how in the world would a public servant serving in the ministry of Agriculture jump into the plane and go to a foreign land in the name of government delegation.
The most annoying thing is that these members of the government delegation do not show up at the respective venues to mobilize support for the Nigerian athletes doing the business of winning gold for the country, they are no where to be found; at lest these officials should be chanting up Nigeria from the stands and then we would be able to justify their presence.
Well, what can we say, when even the Presidency gave a tactical nod to this fraudulent practice by making the Presidential Jet available to that journalist hater, to fly in just for two days and fly back, he and a couple of aids were inside the jet that flew into Algiers; burning fuel, which value could have been put to good use in sports development.
Many of the government officials here come from States, where sporting activities are virtually non-existent, there are no sporting facilities, there are no school sports and there are no grassroots tournament in those states, yet you see these people bouncing back to sports life whenever there is an event;
The President should look into this malady and impress on the National Assembly to pass a law forbidding Nigerian civil servants from going on holiday, each time there is an international sports event like the All Africa Games, Commonwealth and Olympic Games.
Instead, that estacodes money being frittered away should be channeled into sports and youth development. Good enough, Nigerians while traversing this land, saw with their eyes what sports development is all about. There are excellent facilities here, sports halls scattered all over the cities.
How many states in Nigeria have good track and field facilities? How many can boast of good indoor hall for Games and how many states can pick up an athlete and nurture him or her to limelight?
After winning his race, Olusoji Fasuba felt reluctant to do a lap of honour with the Nigerian flag, because he and others here are sweating to give honour to their country with minimal support from the State and in the hotel rooms, you see some Nigerian officials having a ball at their expense.
Next year is the Olympic year, unnecessary nothing on the ground to prepare its athletes just like other countries are presently doing, but at the last minute politicians and civil servants would be falling over themselves to be on the list, nobody will remember the sports men and women that will be driving the country's quest for glory at the international gathering.
This love of travel to estacodes for Nigerian officials must stop. They should learn to sit at home and build their society so that others can be coming from other lands to spend money in Nigeria.
These people should go back home most especially officials from the northern part of the country and plant solid sports facilities in their locality, they should make it instructive for their primary schools to include sports in the curriculum; because this wastage of tax payers money will get us nowhere.
08. August 127
– but the sailors praise the new boats
07. August 112
Photo Credit: Dario Belingheri/Bettini Photo
07. August 125
photo David Cannon/Getty images