Recently, President Mohammadu Buhari was seen with unreserved joy and smile as he received the successful conduct of the athletes who represented Nigeria at the just concluded Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
It was a gathering of who is who in the country, from security egg heads, sports veterans, officials of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), past sports administrators, members of the National Assembly, Ministers, top Government Officials and Sports personalities came out in their numbers to appreciate the athletes who brought glory to the Country.
The Presidential reception took place at the prestigious banquet hall in Aso Villa on the 15th of September 2022. the reception highly deserved by the superlative 4×4 female relay team led by the rave of the moment, Tobi Amusan and Goodness Genesis, Blessing Okorodudu and Nwachukwu.
The other athletes who equally made it possible for the Nigerian national flag to be hoisted in the United Kingdom Birmingham podium performance were no less rewarded by the number one citizen.
The large number of guests at the banquet hall where the athletes were honoured and rewarded as President Buhari himself exemplified the business of give and take between the Government and her citizens.
The Country’s participation at the Commonwealth Games brought 35 medals comprising; 12 Gold, 9 Silver and 14 Bronze which was attributed to timeliness, early preparation, readiness, strict adherence to Doping rules and age bracket including close relationship between the sports ministry and the athletes.
However, the athletes dressed in white attire for the reception signifying cleanliness, dedication to service if given the required provisions to be in the challenging market of youths.
Even President Buhari saw in them both zeal and strength which actually made it possible for them to make the required podium performance. Our Queens of the tracks started humiliating their peers from Oregon in the United States and maintained the relay curve in Birmingham in UK, despite threat by Britain’s anchor runner, Darly Neita.
The Federal Government indeed accorded these super queens a befitting honour of Order Of Niger (O.O.N) and cash prize of N200m. Nigerian citizens have commended the Federal Government for her sincere commitment to sports as promised and giving these youths the priviledge to showcase their talent at a higher competitive ground. The Federal Government early provision of logistics and funds for the athletes preparation, propelled them to ensure that Nigerian flag overwhelmed and dominated other countries.
Their performance also, spoke volume to the president that Nigerian Youths cannot be said to be lazy as long as those necessary incentives were made available for them to showcase their talents.
Interestingly, despite the tight schedule of Mr. President, he still created time to personally watch our athletes from Oregon in US to Birmingham in UK knowing that his country’s flag was good enough to fly higher than those of most other countries.
Suffice it to say that he received his own world stars with pride and glaring joy as in his remarks he said “that he was impressed that their successful victory hoist the Nigerian flag 12 times and placed them on the podium table 30 times”.
He also, eulogised them and added that; “their performance brought joy home and ignited the security of victory in the country’’. While assuring that he will reward excellence to athletes and youths that genuinely make the country proud, he further disclosed that his reward will reawaken other youths to believe in their abilities and note that his administration looks forward to a brilliant performance.
Nevertheless, he commended and still called on private partners including banks and individuals to enhance more financial supports to sports in ‘Adopt-An-Athlete-Initiative’. Many dignitaries in their significant manner joined the Federal Government to congratulate the glorious super queens and the sports ministry administration for a commendable assignment well executed.
Secretary to the Government, Mr. Boss Mustapha in his good will message, urged the girls to continue to justify the Government investment in sports by ensuring that the National flag fly higher.
Also, Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen in her good will message portrayed them enviably as she reminded them that they are the eyes of both their homes and the country. She as well challenged other women to rise up in politics and contribute to the country’s development. With the distinguished performance of the girls, she hosted them to dinner. the Minister of F.C.T, Mohammed Bello witnessed the reception held for the girls and promised to appreciate them at their favourable opportunity.
The athletes were given cash prize of N200m and award of order of Niger (OON). President Mohammed Buhari awarded them in four categories. category a which comprised athletes that broke new world records are to receive a cash prize of N4.5m and honour of OON. Category B which is Gold Medalists will also, recieve N4.5m and honour of OON.
Category C which is Silver Medalists will recieve N2.5m and honour of Federal Republic Point 1 while Category D which is Bronze Medalist will receive N1.5m and honour of Federal Republic Point 2.
Nwokorie is a Press Officer with Ministry of Youth and Sports development