2012 OLYMPICS: Nigeria’s deplorable performance; Don’t blame the athletes.

It is a common practice in Nigeria to label someone a scapegoat in ourdaily lives in order to project our inadequacies, but often times; we tend to ignore the fact that when a head of a fish is rotten; the whole body of the fish is rotten too.

In Nigeria, no matter how much the government tries to masquerade the ills of our society by omission or commission, it usually rears its ugly head one way or the other. As one tries very hard to stop the actions of erosion by piling up heap of sand on its path, in an attempt to stop the meandering water, it becomes a question of time for the meandering water to create its part, thereby exposing the shabby construction work. When one tricks himself/herself and believing that others are being tricked, it becomes a total and absolute insanity. In Nigeria, we trick ourselves while thinking that we trick others. These analyses are indicative of the shameful performances of the supposedly the athletes from the giant of Africa – Nigeria in the just concluded Olympic Games of 2012 in London, England. The performances of athletes from oil rich Nigeria of over 160 million people are bizarre, shameful and nothing to write home about.

When Nigeria screws Nigeria, no one should be blamed except Nigeria. The athletes’ performances are true representative of the system that perpetuates culture of corruption. A system where hard work is impugned and mediocrity is applauded depending on one’s tribe and whose uncle is a minister, senator, board chairman, director, commissioner, permanent secretary, etc… Could anyone honestly tell us that the athletes featured in this Olympic are the brightest Nigeria could produce? This is what we get when a culture of corruption is allowed to become a norm in the society.

The Nigerian Sports Commission or any association that is responsible for featuring athletes to represent Nigeria should be very ashamed for the quality of athletes featured to represent the country. Before calling on the heads of the Commission to roll, how about the Minister of Sports and his cohorts? Did they provide the infrastructures needed to enhance performances? Did they recruit quality athletes and train them for a long period of time to withstand international competitions? Did they go here and there to recruit athletes two months to the Olympics with hope that miracle could happen and pocketed monies earmarked for sports development in the country? It seems to me that Nigeria wants to reap where she did not sow. It takes time and investment to produce quality athletes. May I ask? Did Nigeria do such a thing?

Nigeria wants to compete with well-trained and well-housed athletes with amenities for them to excel like gold ornaments. I can bet you that if an independent auditor conducts an investigation into the shabby performances of our athletes, it could not be far-fetched to find out that monies earmarked for this Olympic ended in a private bank account of sports officials. It could also find out that better athletes were kept away due to tribalism and religious affiliations. How could it be explained that a country of well over 160 million people could not win even a bronze? Why should we as a people accept this shameful act on the proud people of Nigeria? The culture of corruption cuts into the hearts of Nigeria to the extent that failure is now accepted as part of our norm.



President Goodluck Jonathan must start from sacking every high salaried employee at the National Sports policy making body. Nigeria must re-visit its athletic facilities to ensure it meets the international standard. Our country must spend money to recruit and retain quality athletes to start to prepare the next Olympic and pay salaries to them with overwhelming fringe benefits to make it attractive. It is not acceptable for a Giant of Africa to suffer such a humiliation from tiny countries, whereas it should be competing with other countries with similar population. Frankly speaking, at the London Olympics, the Giant of Africa looked like Lilliputians; jokes apart. According to reports, it showed that Nigeria invested about 2.3 Billions Naira for London Olympics, really? Again, is this a trick or Mickey Mouse game or what?

I will conclude this piece with old Igbo saying that a mad person has no shame, but his/her siblings are riddled with shamefulness. A complete overhaul of Nigerian organs of government is relevant in the wake of this shamefulness as witnessed through our athletes. Nothing is hidden under the sun no matter the cosmetic maneuvers to deceive the public. Nigeria needs to change her ways and fight corruption with the amour of God. The status quo can no longer go unchallenged. The shabby performances of our athletes at the Olympics are just a wake-up call that something is fundamentally wrong in Nigeria. By the way, is the marriage of 1914 an issue to re-visit? My answer is overwhelmingly and emphatically yes! yes!! yes!!! I am just being curious!

Ndewo daa,

Mazi Henry OtulleEke

Mazi Henry Otulle Eke lives in Texas. He is the moderator of Town Crier Communications, and also the editor/publisher of Town Crier Newsletter. He is the author of Great loss of Innocence, a story of a boy who lived through the deadly Nigerian-Biafra War.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

error: Content is protected !!