*Orders immediate release of funds
From JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE, Abuja
“Go for Gold in Rio! Go Team Nigeria! Go! I wish you all the best of luck.”
Those were the words of President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday when he handed over Team Nigeria’s athletes to the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) moments after being invested as Grand Patron of the Olympics body.
The President did not just charge the nation’s athletes to go out there and do the country proud, he also directed the immediate release of funds to the team.
He was however quick in warning that in the face of dwindling revenue and the current global economic challenges, funds provided for the Games must be utilized judiciously.
He also stressed that any official who has no business at the Games should stay at home to cheer the team from here and if they must travel to the Olympics, they should do so at their own expense.
Buhari, who commended the athletes for qualifying for the Games commencing from August 5th to 21st despite the challenges encountered during various qualifying championships, urged them to ensure they win without denting the image of the country.
He said, “Let me equally assure you that the Federal Government is fully committed to our delegation’s successful participation in the Rio Olympic Games and will ensure that funds budgeted for the Games are released without further delay.
“We are all aware of our nation’s dwindling revenue and the current global economic challenges. It is therefore imperative that funds provided for the Games are utilized judiciously. In this regard, any official who has no business at the Games should stay at home to cheer the team from here and if they must travel to the Olympics, they should do so at their own expense.”
Continuing the President said: “You are very aware of recent doping allegations which cast aspersions not only on the individual athletes but on their home countries. Please keep Nigeria clean.”
The Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalong commended the President for his support for sports despite the dwindling resources.
President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Habu Gumel, on his part assured that Nigerian athletes wont fail the country.
“We will be worthy ambassadors, discipline will be our watchword,” he said.