Dear Uncle Solo,
With due respect, I write this with a heavy hand…sorry, heart.
The truth is, from the word ‘go’, I personally wasn’t in support of us (Nigeria), participating in this year’s Olympic Games though I didn’t have any strong reason as to why. But when stories of security issues arose backed up with a viral video showing how tourists and even citizens where being robbed in broad day light on the streets of brazil, closely followed by the Zika virus outbreak, I had two strong reasons but no one to present my case to. Who am I sef?
I then heard some athletes were soliciting funds from Nigerians to enable them buy tickets to Rio to participate/represent our great nation Nigeria at the 2016 Olympics. Initially we were made to understand that a mail came from your office asking them to buy their tickets but they would be refunded when they returned…I don’t know how true it is o! But then your office abi was it you who later denied sending out such a mail.
Despite all these negative stories, our athletes including the U23 football team made their way out of the country ahead of the Olympics. My challenge is not even with the athletes for now as I believe they must have reached Rio but the football team. What really happened that they were stranded in Atlanta only to arrive a few hours before their first match?
When you were asked about their suffering condition, you Honourable minister of Sports was caught on candid camera saying the following to news men:
“Our U-23 team suffering in the United States of Nigeria, What are there for? Who took them dia…(scratch that) there? Because they are U-23 and they went to US and they are having problems, does that become our business?”
Before I address the obvious blunder, let me respond to your other questions.
You asked, ‘What are there for?’ I am sure you meant to ask, ‘what are THEY there for? (I don’t blame you sir. Stress can make someone speak razz English at times). To answer your question, they were camping in Atlanta to prepare for their match against Japan at the same Olympics (not FIFA World Cup o!).
Your Special Assistant on media addressed newsmen saying that Siasia did not carry the ministry of sports along when they chose Atlanta as their camping base. Okay, we hear. But does it change the fact that they went there to camp? Abi did you hear they went there to play kalo-kalo? To even complicate matters for your office, your same S.A on media said, “Nevertheless we shall intervene to remedy the situation.” If this is true, then why did you ask again “who took them there”? Abi na me carry take them there?
It was reported by your office that arrangements had been concluded to airlift the team to Brazil. If this too is true, what then went wrong? To even make matters worse, you went on to say “Because they are U-23 and they went to US and they are having problems, does that become our business?” Uncle Solo, let me tell you, it is very much our business o! Because these people in Brazil didn’t go there to represent their family members. They are there to represent us (You, me, abd every Nigerian home and abroad). They hope to fly the green white green flag proudly and I hope for their sake and yours they get a medal or more.
As at the time I put this letter together, I heard the boys arrived Brazil seven hours to their first match against Brazil and to make matters even worse, the wrong national anthem was played for us. See what “United States of Nigeria” blunder has caused? In spite of all the agony, stress and frustration faced by the team, their never die spirit pushed them through to win their first match.
Uncle Solo that blunder, “United States of Nigeria” was too heavy to come from a minister like yourself. As a matter of fact, with due respect, it is disrespectful to the people of this great nation, to your red beret and even to the people of United States of America you were trying to refer to.
My own is, if and when the Team Nigeria wins any medal at the Olympic Games, don’t come out and follow to share in their glory o! The reason is very obvious.
A proud citizen of The Federal republic of Nigeria (Not United States of Nigeria).