Buhari stops jam­boree of­fi­cials from Rio Games

Daily Trust - - SPORT - By Isi­aka Wak­ili

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.”

Photo: Felix Onig­binde

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.

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