President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday charged the Rio Olympics-bound Team Nigeria to go and make Nigeria proud by winning medals for the country but warned, “I don’t want medals tainted with drugs.”
The President who spoke at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa during the official handing over of Team Nigeria to the Nigeria Olympic Committee said, “I am asking you to go for gold. But it is better to come back home clean without medals than return with a bagful of medals tainted with drugs.”
The president also re-emphasised that anybody who has no business going to Brazil should stay back. “If you don’t have any role to play at the Olympics please, you better stay home and watch the Games on television. But if you are going on your own, I wish you good luck,” the President said. This was received with suppressed murmurings from some of the officials in the hall.
President Buhari ordered the immediate release of funds for the team, a development which drew a lot of applause from the packed hall.
President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee Engineer Habu Gumel carried out an investiture on President Buhari as the Grand Patron of the Nigeria Olympic Committee.
Earlier, the Minister of Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung said the President had severally demonstrated his love for sports as exemplified by his release of N2.9 billion that was meant for the All Africa Games and for the Olympic preparations. He promised that Team Nigeria will do well at the Games.
However, controversy has continued to trail the fund as the sports minister said the N2.9 billion has not been accounted for while the former DG of the defeunct National Sports Commission, Alhassan Yakmut claims he left a balance of over N640 million for Team Nigeria’s Olympics preparation.
The NOC President on his part, said the committee has through the International Olympic Committee Solidarity Fund and Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa made funds available for the training of elite athletes, all of who are preparing for the Rio Games.