Neither Nigeria will neither participate in next year’s Commonwealth Games holding in Gold Coast Australia, nor hold the annual National Sports Festival this year owing to financial constraints Minister of Sports Barrister Solomon Dalung has hinted.
The minister who bared his mind in the course of addressing discordant notes as direct fallout from the recently concluded Federations elections, revealed that the budget for sports was drastically reduced on return from the National Assembly, noting that by virtue of the finally approved budget, there is no provision for any major sporting activity outside qualification cum participation in the 2018 world Cup in Russia.
“Our budget that finally came back from the National Assembly had all our sporting activities removed. By the 2017 budget as it is, there is no provision for the Commonwealth Games in Australia next year and no provision for the National Sports Festival,” he said
Speaking further on predicament of the ministry Dalung opined that it will not be an exaggeration to say only one item in the shopping list can be guaranteed.
“The NFF proposal for the World Cup campaign is N6.8billion while the entire budget for sports is N7.7billion. What this means is that all the money will go into the world Cup campaign and all other sporting activities will have to lie low and that is rather unfortunate,” he added
Only intervention by Acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo the minister reasoned can offer other scheduled events this year and next year the needed lease of life.
On the crisis thrown up by the Federation elections, the minister regretted that some so called stakeholders who participated in the election are more interested in sowing seed of discord than contributing to sports development in the country.
“What sports needs are those who are ready to move it forward not those who are only concerned about themselves,” he submitted
While no date and venue has been pencilled down for the National sports Festival which some say will soon be confined to the dust bin of history the way it is going, the next Commonwealth Games has been scheduled for April 4th to 15th 2018 in Gold Coast Australia.
Nigeria finished 8th in at the last edition of the event in Glasgow with 11 Gold 11 Silver and 14 Bronze medals