Buhari stops jamboree officials from Rio Games
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday directed all Nigerian officials who have no business at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games to stay at home to cheer the national team, adding that if such officials must travel to the Olympics, they should do so at their own expenses.
He emphasized that in view of the nation’s dwindling revenue and the current global economic challenges, it was imperative that funds provided for the Games be utilized judiciously.
“In this regard, any official who has no business at the Games should stay at home to cheer the team from here and if they must travel to the Olympics, they should do so at their own expense,” Buhari said at the State House in Abuja yesterday while unveiling the qualified athletes of Team Nigeria to the Olympics.
President Buhari assured of the Federal Government’s commitment to the delegation’s successful participation in the Games, saying he would ensure that funds budgeted for the Games are released without further delay.
He also charged Team Nigeria to the Rio Olympic Games to keep the integrity of our Nigeria intact by competing clean and fair.
Buhari, who was decorated as grand patron of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), said: “You are very aware of recent doping allegations which cast aspersions not only on the individual athletes but on their home countries. Please keep Nigeria clean.”
The president noted that the menace of drug use in sports was threatening the core foundation of sports and had led to embarrassing situations as well as sanctions of some great sporting nations.
“As the Federal Government formally hands over our athletes and officials for the Rio, I want to charge all athletes and team officials going to the Olympic Games to be worthy ambassadors of our great country, both on the field of play and outside the sporting arena. The eyes of the global community are on you and as such, you should desist from acts that could dent the image of our great country, Nigeria,” he said.
He charged the team to bring as many medals back home as a result of their efforts and endeavour, but added that “it’s more important to compete and acquit Nigeria as a fair sporting nation than to bring a pack of medals as a result of bending the rules and denying the games of fair competition.”
He also stated: “I’m highly delighted to receive the cream of Nigerian sporting talents and their team officials that are set to do our nation proud at the 2016 Olympic Games, commencing from 5th to 21st August this year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I’ve been reliably updated on the outstanding performances of our athletes and teams, at their various qualifying championships, which have led to the qualification of a sizeable number of athletes who will fly our national flag at this premier global sporting occasion.
“Nigeria has 49 qualified male athletes and 29 female athletes, giving us a total of 78 athletes in 10 sport disciplines...Aside the sports that we’ve qualified for the Olympic Games, I’ve equally been informed that our athletes have qualified for the Paralympic Games, which comes up immediately after the Olympic Games in Brazil. I therefore want to use this opportunity to personally congratulate all these worthy athletes on their qualifications for these Games, even in the face of daunting challenges in their preparations.”
President Muhammadu Buhari (left) presents the country’s flag to the President Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), Engr. Habu Gumel, during the official handover of Team Nigeria to the Olympic Committee and the investiture of President Buhari as Grand Patron, in Abuja yesterday.