Sports Minister, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi
By Olawale Ajimotokan
Sports Minister, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, has given more insights on why the federal government decided to leave behind the retinue of hangers on under the guise of official delegation from London 2012.
It is the first time family members, nannies, secret lovers, members of the old boys association and domestic workers would be excluded from the army of revelers to be sent to an Olympic Games at public expense.
Abdullahi said that apart from the huge cost required to finance such expedition, the ministry resolved to do away with a jamboree, where officials usually outnumbered athletes, because of the fractious tendency of past official delegations.
“In the past, those on that delegation were either usurping the role of coaches, demanding for full entitlements or busy competing with athletes. This was why we resolved that they would not go with us this time,” Abdullahi said.
In addition to that, he said the hard stance against a national delegation was informed by the nature of the budget available for the Ministry to prosecute the Games.
According to Abdullahi, Nigeria’s N2.3billion is peanuts compared to the £300 million (about N75 billion) which is the cost of participation of the Great Britain team.
“We have a duty to manage our budget in relation to what is approved for other countries. Our priority is the athletes who must be given allowances and camped in the right environment," he said.