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Nigeria’s Sports Minister, Bolaji Abdullahi expresses Disappointment at the Dismal Performance of Team Nigeria at the Olympics



Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, Nigeria’s Sports Minister has admitted his disappointment with the performance of Team Nigeria so far at the London 2012 Olympics saying it is a clear testimony of how far Nigerian sports has fallen behind.

The Minister who addressed a team of journalists at the Nigerian House in Stratford yesterday said there was no need to indulge in any unproductive blame game but to rather see it as an opportunity to rebuild.

“Our inability to win any medal so far is as disappointing for my team and myself and for all Nigerians everywhere. But we must have the courage to see it as it is. This is a clear testimony to how far our sports has fallen behind,” Punch reported.

“We shall therefore not attempt any excuses or indulge in any unproductive blame game. Rather than see this as a failure, we must see it as an opportunity to rebuild. When other countries found themselves in this kind of situation in the past, they have used the galvanizing power of disappointment to get down to work.”

He stated, “Having been appointed Minister of Sports only two months to the Olympics, I have had to learn very quickly. And I have not received a better lesson than in the last two weeks of London 2012. We have been hoping too much on luck, but for once, God is telling us he’s not a magician.”

He praised Team Nigeria for putting up a brave showing at the Olympics, noting, “Our athletes tried their best. We can only hope to build on what they have done.”

“According to a Yoruba saying, as you pose for a camera that is how you will appear. There’s no magic.”

Nigeria has not won any medal so far at the ongoing London 2012 Olympics.


What do you think about the Minister’s comments? Do you think Nigerians relied too much on luck? How do you feel about Team Nigeria’s performance at the Olympics so far? What can be done to achieve better results next time?

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at


  1. tk

    August 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    b4 nko? what wre they expecting? We Nigerians are always hoping to be lucky.. Don’t u think it’s unfair sef to be praying you win when you just practiced three months to the games and someone has been practicing for the last four years..inbtw, i even heard Nigeria had more delegates than athletes. No better luck next time, better preparation my dear…

  2. Thelma

    August 10, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    He’s right…God is not a magician. they should prepare for the next one

  3. Diza

    August 10, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    I agree with the Sports Minister that Nigerians rely too much on luck to win sports competitions. When other nations invest time and money establishing sports training centres, training their athletes from an early age (like china) for years until they are super ready to compete in international sporting events. So how do you expect Nigerian athletes to go up against that? When our athletes only begin their training a few months or even weeks before a major international sports competition.

  4. MEE

    August 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Am I first? Yaaaaay! Putting my hands in d air n rolling it like I jes dnt care! Ds bolaji man shuld park well joor! He was quoted to hav said dey shuld reduce d number of contigentd to only dos dey R sure of wiinning .now how culd he hav said dat

  5. Chattyzee

    August 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    How will Nigeria win any medal when we start preparing for the Olympics 2 months before the opening ceremony. Also, it’s not a matter of facilities, because Kenya does not have facilities either and they managed to produce some amazing athletes. So Nigeria has no excuse. If we want to medal in Rio 2016, I suggest Nigeria starts training immediately and consistently for the next 3 years.

    • Lia

      August 10, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      errrr Kenya does have facilities have you been there? They have a High Altitude Athletics training school where athletes are trained Mo Farah from TeamGB who won the 10k race trained there elite european marathon runners train in Kenya too

  6. ArabianPrincess

    August 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    He should park well. This caused a heated argument on twitter yesterday btw Ogundamisi (@ogundamisi) and Ohimai (@MrFixNigeria). Anyway, I hope by the next olympics, we still wont be dancing to this show of shame. Whether 2months or not, we have branded ourselves as excellin’ in only CORRUPTION and other ‘whatsnot’. We keep hoping and praying for a better Nigeria

  7. Wowza

    August 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    This is what we hear all the time, hopefully this time they really mean it…I’m still proud of our athletes for trying.

  8. Princess of Zion

    August 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    God Almighty expects you to work hard and He will reward your handwork! God will favour you but you must do the work! Nigeria has sporting talent but it must be nurtured and developed! Invest money in training facilities and make it rewarding for the athletes! If you pay them well, they can be full time athletes and spend their 9-5 preparing and training! The USA, GB and Jamaican athletes have access to great facilities and most if not all do it full time!

    Let’s invest the time, money and energy and we will see results! Ofcourse, with handwork and faith, God will favour us! Amen!

  9. sisi

    August 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    All this an avenue for your ministry to pocket more money. Did you not know all this statistic before going globally to pick athletes? We have people back home that are capable to burn energy till the very end. Why not start from the grassroots? They say charity begins at home. Develop our home based athletes, provide them with the right infrastructures & willing coaches. I believe in my country and I know there are people out there that can do well in various sports.
    Take for example the Ijaws & Isekrie people they are good at swimming, why don’t we go and pick some out there to train vigorously to become the next Phelps.Take those that train under the bridge and groom them also. I have seen people running the whole length of the third mainland bridge do you think that type of stamina is in everyone? They have natural steroids flowing in their bodies. Please, your speech was imao lame.

    I did not read anywhere where he at least congratulated or encouraged the athlete that participated out there.

    • justme

      August 11, 2012 at 3:49 am

      God bless you.

  10. Theodora

    August 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    This is a clear testimony to how far our sports has fallen behind,” it indeed has fallen wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy behind , this is our worst olympic outing ever,please sports minister get back to your drawing table all hands must be on deck this kind of outing shouldnt repeat it self at the next olympic come 2016…..and we need to see our athletes compete in more game.

  11. mbulela

    August 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Mallam Abdullahi speaks too much grammar.
    The same grammar he spoke during the ABSU rape case is the same grammar he spoke during NYSC issue and he has raised the tempo of the grammar here.
    We are tired of speeches,we need action.

  12. Ceegee

    August 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Yes God is not a magician so get down to work brov!

  13. Okechukwu Ofili

    August 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Ironically most of our track athletes went to school in a US college and ran track there. Our basketball team are from people who played basketball in the US. Remove the US college trained athletes and we won’t even have a saying in the olympics. We need to seriously be realistic and honest without ourselves.
    1992 Barcelona: 3 silver 1 bronze
    1996 Atlanta: 2 gold 1 silver 3 bronze
    2000 Sydney: 1 gold 2 silver
    2004 Athens: 2 bronze
    2008 Beijing: 1 silver 3 bronze

    • Oma

      August 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      exactly, i don’t have a problem with them being from overseas but how can we have any home-bred athletes when sports is not encouraged from the grassroots (i exempt Lagos state from this generalisation cos the governor has been making a great effort)
      Luck will take us nowhere. If the most populous black nation can not produce one fantastic athlete in a sport such as running dominated by black people then we need to go home and come back when we have our act together.

  14. Neka

    August 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    We will never perform well in anything but Corruption as another comment above stated! Bella Naija, you published an article a few days ago stating that the basketball team be praised for determination and being there to the end. To think that you would even publish that depicts the attitude that us Nigerians have; stupid sentiments. I’m sorry but the site lost credibility after that article. You even went ahead to mention that the team was put together in a month! That alone is the dumbest statement in an article that is meant to throw accolades at the team! and the comments that followed were even worse;everyone praised the team.We have to have a change in mindset if ever we were to do better in anything and that is the truth!

    • mick heery

      August 10, 2012 at 4:12 pm

      yes , soory to say that the impression not just of nigeria but lots of african coiuntires as well,.i got no answer, btu i thought the nja athletes were impressive ,,,,,

  15. Observer

    August 10, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    After he has chopped and cleaned mouth he wants to now show disappointment. Where was when they announced the Olympics will he held? Why didn’t he as the Sports Minister begin to put things in place way back then so as to ensure that our athletes are prepared? No blame game… just marvelling at how they are always the quickest to be disappointed at something when they are not doing anything with the position and money they’ve been given.

    • Joey

      August 10, 2012 at 3:42 pm

      Observerrrrr, read well now “He stated, “Having been appointed Minister of Sports only two months to the Olympics,” So the question is what preparation did the former minister put in place before this one took over the office “that is if we had any minister of sport before o”
      Let’s see how 2014 and 2016 games will go.

  16. kimbim

    August 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    nonsense!!! nt even a bronze, what a shame 🙁

    • Okechukwu Ofili

      August 10, 2012 at 5:34 pm

      not even 4th place certificate sef. But I trust Chukwumerijie…the boy is a teakwondo beast.


    August 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    We will always fail so far there is inadequate preparations and lack of training facilities.

  18. ij

    August 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    not to worry by Rio 2016, he will recycle the same speech , he will just update the year “Having been appointed Minister of Sports only 4yrs to the Olympics, I have not learnt a damn thing”

  19. naijababe

    August 10, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    If you want Nigeria to bring home a medal, gold, silver or bronze, BE READY TO PUT IN A LOT OF MONEY AND HARDCORE TRAINING. China, and America put a lot of effort, almost perfection into their athleticism, so it’s not a coincidence that they are leading in the olympics. It’s not magic or luck, Chinese put perfection in everything, they don’t play. Sports is not our thing in Nigeria, we are more education oriented. It takes discipline, structure, dedication and courage. Even the type of food these athletes will eat is put into consideration, everything is that detailed.

    • unknow

      August 10, 2012 at 8:53 pm

      You are so right, we do need to invest more money into sports but Its not just about investing money. We also need to encourage our young ones to takes on sports in school. its not just about been Lawyers and doctors. When you speak to a lot of the foreign athletics you find that they have been training since they were 12 year old.

  20. Bianca

    August 10, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Our government has never learned from their mistakes or experiences. Same event will play out the next time,they will not invest in these athletes or commence training early enough.With an absolute certainty,no one can reap where he or she did’t invest.Allowing this guys for any international tournament with out adequate preparation is only a waste of national and tax payers funds.

  21. anonymous

    August 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    How can they say there’s a dismal performance? You will reap what you sow. Do you know how much money countries like America spend on their athletes. They even hire foreign coaches if they have to. If they feel like the environment is not conducive to training, they move them to one that will result in effective training. All these ministers should start taking the blame for their actions, the Nigerian team tried their best!!! I’m very proud of them! Some of them even used their own money to train themselves, that’s dedication. A whole country like Nigeria, that has more money than 99% of countries in Africa, with a population of almost 200 million is now blaming the athletes?! Nonsense!

  22. sexygal

    August 11, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    @naijababe I agree with everything you said.
    @unknow Yes, parent should encourage their children more to go into sports. A lot of these olympians have been doing it since they were young. It’s become second nature to them. Just the same way we excel education wise, let’s put the same effort into our athleticism if we want to win. Let’s be like the Asians, who are doing well all round.

    The reason, Naija continue to fail in many areas is lack of facing reality and taking actions to make it possible. Firing prayers, God put fire in their feet so they can run faster, oh, fada God blind the judges eyes so they can give us first WILL GET YOU NO WHERE.
    These ministers need to take ownership for their greediness and stop blaming the athletes. We used to be good in soccer, now it’s non existence. I believe, with the proper training, encouragement, courage and support system we will do better.

  23. jollybabe

    August 12, 2012 at 12:21 am

    Which fool is blaming the athletes?…They did their best without adequate funds ,organization and training.ABEGGGGGG…..WHO DARES TO BLAME THEM???!!!???

  24. Africanbeauty

    August 14, 2012 at 8:42 am

    [email protected] sexygal

    Don’t let mountain of fire church catch you. Fire in their feet, blind their eyes, you will not kill me with laughter. I think I heard one of them say, let the devil roast like chicken, omg, I laughed so hard that day before I said, AMEN.

  25. Obi

    November 22, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I detest the way those purporting to be “Nigerian” constantly harp on about corruption. Corruption has not stopped, China or even America, doing well at sports. The truth is Nigeria has under performed at the Olympics; since independence we’ve only won a handful of medals. We’ve not taken athletics seriously but now since people are making such noise, it shows interest has grown in athletics. It means therefor we should start investing and planning ahead of competition. All this talk of corruption means nothing. Go ahead and do something, stop wining. The world did not end after London 2012. Nations rise and fall in sports as in all things. Stop moaning, do!

  26. solomon chukwudi chiaghanam

    December 13, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    please i just have this thing in mind but it has been long that i have been planing to say it out but who to tell and who to sponsor. please who do i tell.

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