By Patrick Omorodion
The London Olympics is two days old and the scramble for medals has started in earnest for Team Nigeria in Basketball, Weightlifting, Table Tennis and Boxing out of the eight sports which the National Sports Commission (NSC)/Ministry of Sports registered the over 160 athletes carrying the country’s flag.
On July 4 the NSC did the official hand-over ceremony of Team Nigeria to the Nigeria Olympic Committee, NOC whose responsibility it is to take the Nigerian contingent to the Games as, traditionally, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which owns the Games, deals only with countries through their respective Olympic Committees.
Because of this responsibility which the IOC recognises, each country’s Olympic body usually gets grants from the IOC to support the preparation of their athletes, as the IOC expects them to be independent of government of their countries.
In Nigeria the NOC over the years relies on the government totally for the welfare, preparation and participation of athletes for major events like the Olympic Games and the All Africa Games.
Because of the NOC’s parasitic nature, past government officials always almost wanted to dictate who occupies the office of the NOC president and secretary general, which most times results into rancour and flexing of muscles between the sports ministry and the NOC.
Things have however changed with the elevation of Chief Patrick Ekeji as the Director-General of the NSC. The NSC and the NOC have thus been working harmoniously for the interest of the athletes.
One area which remains not properly settled however, is the issue of proper reward for our deserving athletes at major competitions. The NOC which is supposed to be in the fore front on this issue, takes the back seat after every competition, leaving the government to decide what it should do most times.
No wonder former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo introduced