SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE PRESIDENTIAL RECEPTION IN HONOUR OF TEAM NIGERIA CONTINGENTS TO THE 2022 COMMONWEALTH GAMES AND WORLD ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS, AT THE STATE HOUSE CONFERENCE CENTRE (BANQUET HALL), ABUJA,
15TH SEPTEMBER, 2022.
TEAM NIGERIA, I welcome you very warmly to State House. I am delighted to host you today in Abuja. I join Nigerians to stand up for you all, “The Champions”. “Indeed, our dear national heroes and heroines”.
2. You have all distinguished yourselves as worthy Ambassadors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we are proud of you.
3. You proudly flew the Nigerian flag in nine sporting events. I watched with millions of Nigerians those exciting moments when you all brought smiles to us and our homes by breaking world, national and games records, as well as achieving personal best in your careers.
4. Your outstanding performances in recent times are consistent with the determination of a nation always yearning for excellent performance. You all, members of Team Nigeria have ignited the spirit for victory in our nation but even more you have been victorious in major sporting championships and games.
5. I have followed keenly your achievements at the World Championships in Oregon USA and indeed your remarkable performance at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom. And I am very pleased that you displayed at both the personal and group levels great sporting talents and delivered for your country great podium performances.
6. The Radar of the world beamed on Nigeria at her hour of sporting glory and you all made that possible. Your exploits have gone a long way in projecting the positive image of our country amongst the comity of nations, as each successive victory led to the hoisting of the Nigerian flag and reciting of the National Anthem.
7. Twelve times the world stood still as our green, white green national flag was hoisted and the National Anthem recited. Thirty five times we made it to the podium. You all Team Nigeria made that possible. You brought glory and honour to our country. And today, on behalf of the nation- I say, THANK YOU!
8. TOBILOBA AMUSAN Our dear WORLD CHAMPION, we celebrate you and thank you for registering Nigeria’s name in the global world of champions.
9. Furthermore: Ese Brume, Blessing Oborodudu , Oluwafemiayo Folashade, Taiwo Liadi, Ikechukwu Obichukwu, Bose Omolayo, Favour Ofili, Nasiru Sule, Ifechukwude Ikpeoyi, Ebikewenimo Welson, Hannah Rueben and Elizabeth Oshoba, all gold winners! and all other medal winners, a BIG THANK YOU for logging Nigeria’s name in the record books of global sports. These positive achievements must reawaken us all to a greater commitment to developing our sports and supporting our athletes.
10. With 35 medals, including 12 gold, 9 silver and 14 bronze our shining stars. I thank you for competing among the best in the world and displaying the God-given attributes of the real Nigerian- never give up, strive to the end.
11. This administration has been focused on providing the enabling environment for our youth to ascend to the pinnacle of their chosen careers. The Federal Government notes with satisfaction the impact the Adopt-An-Athlete Initiative of the Ministry of Youth and Sports had on the performance of our athletes.
12. Early last year I appealed to private individuals, corporate organizations and sub national governments to support our athletes I had no doubt this support will come. I thank all of the people that made the initiative a success and I urge more organizations to support the government in investing in our sports men and women.
13. I approved in 2021 the reclassification of Sports from being a recreational activity to being a Business in line with much modern practices world wide. Sports is now business in Nigeria. Once the National Sports Policy is approved government will ensure that the necessary incentives for private sector participation and needed investment in infrastructure will take place.
14. The many giant strides witnessed in the Sports Sector are worthy of commendation. I commend the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare and his team for the numerous and sustained successes that have been recorded under this administration.
15. Our Government is committed to rewarding excellence and in keeping faith with this commitment, I hereby approve that National Honours and the Cash Awards of N200 Million for Team Nigeria.
16. I congratulate all the awardees and recipients as I believe that this will spur them to greater heights.
I thank you all and May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.