On August 12, the London 2012 Olympics came to a close, leaving Nigeria – the most populous black nation in the world, and the third largest economy in Africa – without a medal; not even a wooden one. To some, especially those on the outside looking in, it was a shocking outcome; however, for those who are well-versed in the internal workings of this ever soon-to-be-great nation, it was an expected end to an inglorious beginning.
Let us look at the nation’s social downward slide to the Stone Age since 1979 when it returned to democratic rule following a long term of military dictatorship, to this day:
One can go on and on, but I am sure you get the picture.
While Nigeria may be an economically progressive nation, it is sliding back to the Stone Age in terms of provisions of social amenities to its citizens, because the windfalls of its economic success is not being properly harvested and invested in social infrastructures meant to improve the lot of the people. That is why, in 2012, a nation like Nigeria, with its entire natural and human resources will invest the sum of N2.3b in its Olympics preparation and come away from London with nothing more than shopping bags from Harrods and Mark and Spencer. That is the Nigeria we have today, and the same one we will see in Rio come 2012.
The London 2012 Olympics reminds us, once more, that when one fails to plan, one plans to fail. It has been Nigeria’s motto for many years. While other countries have been adopting one or more sports even and working tirelessly to improve on it, Nigeria has elected to adopt ALL sports events and improve on NONE. As is always the case, when we suffer these colossal failures, a committee of inquiry will be set up to investigate why we failed- the fact that we all know why we failed is not even a factor. At the end of these investigations, promises will be made but never kept, and come the next time (in this case Rio 2016), the powers that be will wait till a month to the event to release funds for trainings that should have begun 12 months prior. Is that the conduct of a nation that wants to progress? A resounding NO!
One thing is clear in life; you can only win if you want to win. Medals in Olympics are not awarded by Transparency International and, as one Nigerian writer pointed out, there are no medals given out for corruption. If Nigeria wants to win medals in the biggest event on the international stage, it will have to move from “wanting to be” to “being” a force to reckon with.