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Former president of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) Major General David Jemibewon (rtd) has revealed reasons why Nigerians must contribute to the country’s sports development.
Speaking on the occasion of his 80th birthday, Jemibewon, said he came up with the idea when he was the former military governor of the now-defunct Western state.
“The teams represent Nigeria, we ought not to wait for the government till the last minute asking for money, so I brought the idea that, since Nigerians are happy generally if a Nigerian team in any sports does well, then we must hence contribute what brings happiness”.
“That each Nigerian should contribute in a minimum of N 1 Narira per head towards sports development . Even a day year old born should also contribute, the rich citizens in each state can even pay for everyone in the state”.
“We can use it to determine the population of the state, even without census”.
Jemibewon also noted that he didn’t lead the Nigerian contingent to the 1988 Olympics Games in Seoul because he didn’t believe the team would win a medal.
“I had good plans as Nigeria Olympic Committee president”.
“For example, I was not ready to take a large contingent to the Olympics as I wanted us to be certain and have ideas as to how many medals and as to what sports we should plan for. I didn’t want us to go on a wild hunt”.
“I won’t go into much details why I didn’t lead the team to the Olympics because it is a long story. I didn’t go because I felt Nigeria wasn’t prepared and I would not do the country proud”.
“I knew we were not going to win anything and as for me, I have a standard, I withdrew myself. Samuel Ogbemudia was appointed to lead and that was one of the Olympics Nigeria went to and never won a medal”.
“I concentrated more on individual sports like boxing, javelin, shot put etc. In fact, there was one year Morocco went to the Olympics with one athlete and it won a gold medal.
They believed that was where they could get gold, trained the athlete and achieved it. So it is not the number of athletes that go to the Olympics that matter but their performances,” he said.