By Goodluck Ikiebe
L-R: President, Nigeria Commonwealth Games, Engr. Habul Gumel and Dr Simon Ebhojaiye, Director, Federations, Elite Athletes Department, (FEAD) , Gumel and an athlete with the baton and the baton on its tour of riverine areas in the country, right.
As the Queens Baton Relay ends its tour of Nigeria after being received by President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday, stakeholders in the Olympic family have said that Nigeria, being the first point of arrival of the Baton in Africa symbolises that the country aligns with the Commonwealth countries around the world.
The President, Nigeria Commonwealth Games, Engr. Habul Gumel, disclosed this shortly after a relay by athletes and boat ride with the Baton at Jabi Lake as well as the city tour around Abuja, which signifies the end of the Baton’s tour in Nigeria.
According to him, the arrival of the Baton in Nigeria on Friday October 15, 2021, is very significant as can be deduced from the reception it received from the day of its arrival at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja by all stakeholders from the general public, the Nigerian Olympic Committee as well as officials of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
Engr. Gumel assured that already, the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, has constituted a committee for the Games, and beginning from November, Nigeria will intensify preparations while efforts are also being made to get the athletes ready for the Games.
He commended the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, and the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, in particular, for its commitment and investment in sporting infrastructure in the country.
Earlier in his remarks, the Director, Federations, Elite Athletes Department, (FEAD), in the Ministry, Dr Simon Ebhojaiye, noted that the symbolism associated with the baton is aimed at drawing attention to the fact that Nigeria is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and frontline in the Commonwealth Games, stressing that the country is ready for extraordinary performance at the Commonwealth outings.
He added that going by the programme for the Queens Baton Relay in Abuja, the team will leave Nigeria today for Gambia, Sierra Leone and will go round the participating countries before arriving the city of Birmingham, host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in July, 2022.
Queen’s baton relay is held every four years and is expected to feature over 7,000 baton relay bearers across the Commonwealth nations.
Post Views: 10