Nigeria: Here we go again

:mad: Crisis trails athletes‘ trip to Korea
By Adekunle Salami
Published: Monday, 21 Jul 2008

The National Sports Commission has incurred the wrath of Team Nigeria following the delay in the proposed overseas training tour of Korea ahead of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

The athletes were scheduled to travel on Saturday but the poor travelling arrangements by the NSC aborted the trip, a situation they have frowned upon.

Though the NSC handed over the Olympic team to the Nigeria Olympic Committee on Friday, it was learnt that the training tour was a government project.

Again, the athletes were billed to have travelled a month ago according to the original plans of the NSC that every team to the games must be out on tour for at least six weeks.

“This preparation is just too poor and to know that we are going for the Olympic Games makes it worse. We were on tour for two months before the 2003 All Africa Games and now we are still in Nigeria preparing for a global event. It is bad,” one of the athletes said.

A team official, who also spoke to our correspondent on the telephone on Saturday, argued that the crisis between the NOC Chairman, Abdulrahman Gimba, and his directors was the cause of the current plight of Team Nigeria.

“The minister is not happy with his directors. They are not working together and we are the ones suffering it. I’m not sure they are thinking of results from Beijing and that is unfortunate,” he said.

Our correspondent learnt that a top political appointee in the NSC decided to change the travelling agent of the body and it affected the proposed trip billed for Saturday.

It was also learnt that the government released over N1billion for the games last week but Gimba allegedly delayed the disbursement of the money, which could have enabled the athletes to travel before last Friday.

The Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Tony Nezianya, also told our correspondent that the body was faced with multiple problems concerning Beijing 2008.

Only last Friday the NSC handed over Team Nigeria to the NOC with the problem of travelling yet to be sorted out.

Nezianya said, “We expect the athletes to travel in batches this week. The advance team will leave tonight (Sunday night) and the athletes will travel between Tuesday and Friday to their respective training camps.

“We however have problems with the Olympic family which comprise people who have so much to do for the country in Beijing but are not accredited and the embassy has been so unfriendly to us on visas.

“Some association chairmen might not travel to Beijing the way things are going.”

The men and women’s football teams are already in Korea on a playing tour while all other athletes are still in Nigeria.

Boxing, athletics, weightlifting, table tennis, wrestling, badminton, taekwondo and judo are the other sports yet to embark on tour in preparation for the games.

The competition holds between August 8 and 24 in Beijing.

Squandered oil wealth leaves Nigeria in dark age
Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:02am BST Email | Print | Share| Single Page| Recommend (0) [-] Text [+]

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FACTBOX: Nigeria’s oil wealth fails to benefit poor By Tume Ahemba

LAGOS (Reuters) - With oil prices at record highs, government coffers in the world’s eighth biggest oil exporter are swollen to unprecedented levels.

Yet the vast majority of Nigeria’s 140 million people live in no better conditions than their neighbours in West Africa, the least developed region of the world’s poorest continent.

The same is true of many of Africa’s major oil producers – including Angola, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea and Chad – but Nigeria’s sheer size and 2-million-barrel-per-day output make the poverty-wealth contrasts more striking.

Nigeria has earned the equivalent in today’s terms of nearly $1.2 trillion from oil production over the past four decades, the sort of money that enabled oil-producing Gulf states like Qatar to develop some of the strongest economies in the Arab world.

But its four state-owned refineries are not fully operational, largely due to mismanagement and vandalism, its distribution network is chaotic, and it relies heavily on fuel imports, which cost around $4 billion each year.

In Lagos, a mega-city of more than 10 million people, the elite sip champagne on exclusive islands – albeit to the incessant drone of diesel generators – while the masses live in mainland slums without water or electricity.

Ask an average Nigerian on the streets of Lagos how he is and he will likely tell you “things dey hard, but we dey manage” – it’s tough but we’re getting by.

Healthcare is virtually non-existent, the roads are potholed, unemployment and crime are on the rise, and Nigeria is suffering from spiralling food prices.

“Nigeria is making more money from oil now, but look at the street we are living on,” said Efe Oyingbo, pointing to a dirt road where passers-by waddle through muddy waters and motorists try to navigate cavernous, submerged potholes.

A mother of two, her frozen food business in the suburb of Okota has virtually collapsed because she cannot afford the high cost of gasoline.

The government has frozen the price of fuel but retailers have taken advantage of short supplies to more than double the price of diesel in some parts of Nigeria in the last few months.

The number one complaint is a stop-start power supply. Exasperated residents of Lagos call the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) “Never Expect Power Always”.

Nigeria’s generation capacity has plunged to less than 1,000 megawatts from 3,000 MW a year ago, largely due to lack of maintenance at power stations. South Africa, with a third of Nigeria’s population, has over 10 times that capacity.

Much of Nigeria goes without power for weeks at a time. The crisis has closed hundreds of factories and slashed millions of jobs.

Since taking office a year ago, President Umaru Yar’Adua has been promising to declare a national emergency on power – during which billions of dollars would be invested in the sector – most recently saying he will do so this month.

A committee he set up to review the sector said last month Nigeria needs $85 billion to meet its domestic power demand, estimated at roughly 20,000 MW.

That dwarfs the $10 billion former President Olusegun Obasanjo spent on the sector during his eight-year tenure, an amount which failed to deliver on his pledge to raise capacity to 10,000 MW by the end of 2007.

A parliamentary probe showed more than $50 million of that money had been paid to non-existent companies.

Yar’Adua has said his country was also looking for ways of bringing private money into infrastructure investment.

Nigeria’s public health system, education and roads are all in a shambles, largely due to corruption and mismanagement during decades of military rule which ended in 1999.

But close to a decade of civilian administration has given Nigerians little to cheer about.

“We’ve seen over the last few years that the military has no monopoly on ineptitude in government,” said Antony Goldman, an independent expert on Nigeria.

“By normal measures, Lagos does not function. It is not organized chaos, there often seems barely the pretence of organization … People survive in spite of what government does not because of it,” he said.

Lagos state governor Babatunde Fashola has acknowledged the problems and said the state must spend more than $700 million over the next five years to improve the road network alone.

Nine out of 10 Nigerians live on less than $2 a day, their lives blighted by poor infrastructure and a lack of public services resulting from decades of endemic corruption.

The cost of rice has climbed dramatically in the past few months, doubling for some varieties. Consumer inflation rose to 9.7 percent in May, fuelled by a sharp rise in food prices.

“We don’t sell anymore, you can see the freezer is open,” Oyingbo said, sitting with two other women in front of her shop, pointing to an empty freezer in the unlit room.

“This is what we do now, sit and talk about Nigeria and also pray and hope that God will do a new thing.”

Sad but true story, I remember my stay in Nigeria we didn’t have power for weeks but I was a lucky one because my family members had generators etc. The strange thing for me was having my school go on strike for months.

Oil and the wealth distribution in nigeria has been an incredible disaster.

And in the middle of all this, some of the world’s most gifted athletes are supposed to succeed at the global level. How does Fasuba even manage to train there much less perform among the world’s elite! :rolleyes:

fasuba grew up in nigeria and is used to the system.after years of military rule,it will take time before things take shape.remember we are over 140m people.i have told fasuba to stop complaining and concentrate on his carier.anytime he wins,he will be celebrated.even our famous footballers are neglected.things will change but it will take time.most of u have never lived under military regime so u do not know the damage they cause.

Nigeria: Athletics Buffs Lament Relay Fiasco

Comment on this article

Vanguard (Lagos)

19 July 2008
Posted to the web 21 July 2008

Ben Efe

Though the Athletics Federation of Nigeria is still battling belatedly to have the women 4x100m relay team reinstalled into the top 16 list of nations for the Beijing 2008 Olympics, events that led to Nigeria’s ouster continues to generate debate among athletics buffs.

The pertinent question that was being asked all through the week was, why did the AFN and to some extent the National Sports Commission wait till the dying seconds before they made bold to rally the team into qualification?

Sprinter, Uche Isaac described it as medicine after death even as he stopped short of calling for the resignation of the entire AFN board. According Uche the road to disaster began at the African Championships in Ethiopia where the most of country’s athletes put up below average performance.

The male team failed to finish their relay race in the final, they were only lucky to have ran a fantastic time at the last All Africa Games in Algeria. It was that time they hung onto for survival in the list of top 16

The women 4x100m won the gold in Addis Ababa, but their aggregate time of 87.37 seconds was only good enough to put them on the last rung of the ladder; they crashed out on July 6 after Thailand recorded a better time.

“The dangers of us crashing out has always been there. We needed to take these girls out to improve on their time as far back as May, but we sat back and watched hoping that everything will be okay,” said coach Tony Osheku.

The AFN earmarked some IAAF sanctioned meets for the teams including the men’s 4x400m to attend before and after the Mobil Championships. The men’s 4x400m quartet led by Goddy James had their chance to improve on the 3.03.09 that placed them at the 20th position when they went to Tunis permit meet. But they could only return a miserable 3.05.06 that did not take them anywhere, but disqualification zone.

The women 4x100m featuring Damola Osayomi with a personal best of 11.08 did not get the chance to run any relay meet. Osayomi and the others on the team missed four good days of training as they waited in vain at the airport, waiting for their trip to Greece to happen.

“The AFN technical committee is not serious. We told them at the African Championships about the need to take the team out early, but they would concentrate on the teams. All they were interested in was to run after Ethiopian girls,” said an athlete at the National Stadium.

Former AFN president Dan Ngerem could not hide his frustration. “I don’t understand what is happening at the AFN anymore. I expected that they should have done better than they did. I cannot imagine that our men 4x400m that has won silver twice in the Olympics did not qualify and I would want to ask what is Sunday Bada doing as technical director? He was a former quartermiler who won silver in the relay,” Ngerem wondered.

AFN scribe Maria Wophil said Nigeria will launch a protest to the IAAF, based on the summation that the athletes were not granted visas to attend the meet they were supposed to go and pick up qualification points.

But athletics observers are of the view that those are just face saving comments. The deed has been done and Nigeria is out of contention for the relay medal. It is only hope that the men 4x100m and women 4x400m make the country proud at the Games.

And after the Olympics Nigerians should be told exactly who is in charge of the AFN. It appears that contending interest between members of the Federation’s board on one hand and external factors close to the office of the NSC director-general has not helped matters.

what a waste, how would you handle this problem kitkat?

The report(s) are often a bit cryptic, hard to get to the root(s) of the problem. BUt the end game is always the same - Nigeria has athletics resources (talent) but poor management, resulting in poor development of the talent, and poor facilitation of any kind of national strategy. It is the same every year.

The only Nigerians who succeed on the global stage are those who have gone to the US, or those who have migrated to other places, such as Spain, or those who have sought out intelligent and motivated foreign coaches (Fasuba - Vazel).

By the looks of it, the AFN are incompetent at managing the existing resources and worse at generating new streams of financial support to further develop the next generation of emerging young talent within their own country.

The board should be given a shake-up, some seriously well connected business-sports people need to come onto the board and start creating some strategic marketing and TID and Talent Development programmes - including for coaches of speed-power events in particular, which is where Nigeria’s strengths are traditionally.

The Minister for Sports should be called on and, if needs be, to be accused of permitting the degradation of Nigerian athletics. Then let’s see what he does, other than pass the buck on to the board of AFN.

Honestly the last time I can recall Nigeria having anything like a pretty well balanced overall track team was at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, NZ. They had the Ezenwa twins emerging in the sprints, a couple of good women in the 400m.

The talent is there in Nigeria. I think that’s a given. It’s probably also been identified. But not developed. That’s a crime of neglect.

It’s a management of resources issue and primary among those are the provision of training tracks (facilities) and coaching guidance. Especially needed for the national junior elite pool is good foreign coaches to be brought in - if necessary with the assistance of the IAAF - to work with the individual aspiring elite athletes and their personal coaches.

Keeping the successful coach-athlete relationship alive and feeding both with encouragement and meaningful support is crucial to a successful and sustained Nigerian comeback.

The Nigerian Parliament/Military Government needs to understand that Nigeria’s reputation outside of Africa is shit.

They have all the natural resources and all we read about is lack of funding, corruption at all levels, scamming and incompetent management at all levels of every industry and endeavour in life, with decent people never getting their heads above the poverty line. (chi chi, that may not be the reality but that’s my perception and my family are friends with a few Nigerian ex-pat families who corroborate that sorry view)

The Nigerian Minister for Sport needs to understand that the most immediate way to start to change that global impression is to use sport as a vehicle for promotion, while implementing an education revolution at the schools.

There are only two sports stages which can deliver that opportunity: the World Cup of soccer, and the Olympic Games, of which track and field is the major platform for success. The DDR realised that back in the 1960s, although they went about it in a way we frown upon.

kitkat1 there is too much politics in nigeria.alot of ex-athletes have dissapointed so many of us.even the present board that is full of ex-athletes are the worst we ever had.the previous president of the federation would have been the best person to take athletics in nigeria to high standard but he needs to learn public relations.his fault was that he has no respect or regard for athletes.apart from that,he was superb.he spends his money and will get it back from the government.some powerful guys are trying to bring him back.if he was the person in charge,we will not have problems qualifying for relays.

Thanks chichi. No offence to you personally, ever. But it is a disaster. Soooo much talent in Nigeria, but so little to show for it - so far. Hope you are correct and they bring a good man in to guide the sport.

It may have gone unnoticed, but Nigeria women’s 4 X 100 team will be in the Games. Finland dropped out, opening the slot for Nigeria.