Rio 2016, Nigeria And The Gold Medal Of Shame By Ogundana Michael Rotimi
The 2016 Summer Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro are over and yet a country as big as Nigeria comes home with just a bronze medal. This time, there were additional disgraceful actions and inactions from the Nigerian Football Federation and the sports ministry before and during the biggest sporting events in the world.
Where do we start from? Is it from the social media plea by Nigerian athletes to crowd- source fund to find their way to Rio? Or from the Dream Team VI that got stranded in Atlanta, Georgia only to arrive Rio few hours before their first match? Perhaps from the opening ceremony where Nigerians filed out while dressed in their tracksuits? Should we start from the fact that Mikel John Obi, had to use his personal money- $4,000, to ensure that the Nigeria Olympic team did not miss their flight to Salvador while players and officials of the Dream Team VI, were held to ransom in Sao Paulo, over unpaid bills incurred by additional officials? Or from the fact that Nigeria’s Olympic kit only turned up a few days to the end of the Olympics after most athletes had completed their events? I am quite sure there are many more embarrassing moments unknown to the public.
If we combine the volume of shame generated by Nigeria at the 2016 Rio Olympic games into electricity, it would be enough to power the country uninterruptedly for many years.
We had four (4) good years to prepare for the Olympics after the last one in London -2012, because of whom we are- never prepared for anything until the last minute, we failed to prepare. We rather prepared for a show of shame and mockery. We prefer to show the world how so unserious we are as a people and as a nation.
From PDP to APC, from the North to the South, from Christians to Muslims we took ourselves to Rio and made a mockery of ourselves on a global stage.
What else could be regarded as a monumental shame after the Japanese philanthropist- Dr. Katsuya Takasu having considered all that the Dream Team VI went through before and during the Olympics, found it necessary to make donations – $390,000 in cheque to support them. In his own words: “I read about the financial problems affecting the team and I felt the need to make a contribution”. Isn’t this embarrassing?
It is no longer news that Nigeria isn’t a poor country- it is just badly managed. So unfortunate that in spite of all providence has put in our care and made available for and to us, we find it so difficult to make the best use of them.
It`s shameful that a country with a population estimated to be over 170 million, went to the Olympics and came back with just one bronze medal- not even a gold.
Perhaps the saddest part of our history since independence and the most painful truth is our biggest failures in the area of human resources developments- we absolutely care less in this regard. Our performance at Rio is an indication of a waste of human resources in a country where it abundantly dwells.
Our failure to make effective use of the human resources we have as a nation is in itself shameful and disgraceful. It`s embarrassing that we cannot compete successfully on the global stage.
We have got talented and gifted Nigerians in all walks of life and most importantly in sports. But pathetic as it were, we could not showcase any of our best talents to the world.
Make no mistakes, the reason for this isn’t farfetched- bigotry, mediocrity, ethnicity and religious discriminations trump excellence and competence. Not ignoring the harmful impacts of greed and corruption which rule over our affairs. Asides, we seldom take things that matter seriously and barely prepare for challenges.
The Rio Olympic games have come and gone, but if you are looking for a country with a gold medal in shame and mockery, do not look any further- here is Nigeria!
In spite of all the show of shame and mockery before and during the Olympics, just to think that no head will roll trumps how shamelessness as a nation!
This same shamelessness is reflected in our social lives and in our society- those that are meant to be nowhere even near the backstage and that are meant to bow their ugly heads in shame for one criminal activity or the other finds their way to the podium and end up with the loudest voices- we end up praising them and absolving them of all wrong deeds.
It won`t be out of place to say shame has been banished from this country; hence, we must be prepared for anything.
The tragedy of history is that man barely learns from it. Few weeks from now we would have forgotten about our embarrassing outing at Rio and would have put aside all that we went through. Only to pick them back few weeks to Tokyo 2020.
Meanwhile, serious and saner countries have started preparations for Tokyo 2020- exactly what we should do- champions are not made in a day!
Nevertheless, to the Dream Team VI who saved us from not coming back empty-handed from the 2016 Rio Olympic games- we say a very big thank you!
God Bless Nigeria!
Ogundana Michael Rotimi is a Nigerian Biochemist, Socio-economic & Political Commentator, and Public Speaker. He tweets @MickeySunny.