Former Nigerian international sprinter, Mercy Nku, has hailed the appointment of Senator John Enoh as the minister of sports development by President Bola Tinubu.
Nku, the second Nigerian woman after Mary Onyali to run in the 100m final at the World Athletics Championships, says Enoh possesses the administrative acumen and experience to lift Nigerian sports out of the woods.
“Senator Enoh has been in the House of Representatives and the Senate and the experiences he has garnered there, especially with oversight duties are not one that can be bought on the shelf,” the Cross River born sprinter who won four gold medals at the African Youth Championships in Bouake, Cote d’Ivoire in 1995 said.
She said Senator Enoh is known across Cross River State as an achiever and a thoroughbred administrator who does not take decisions without due consultations.
‘I think President Tinubu has done the right thing by bringing a man who pays attention to details as Senator Enoh to my constituency. The Sports sector has failed to grow for over 40 decades now and it will require a man who understands how to manage and inspire people to begin the renaissance the sector urgently needs.’
The two-time Nigeria champion and fourth woman to break 11.10 seconds in the 100m believes the recent disappointments Nigerians suffered at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary will show the Sports Minister how badly we have fared in sports.
‘If I am not mistaken, we have returned from the World Athletics Championships 11 times without winning a medal out of 19 times we have participated since we made our debut at the inaugural edition of the competition in 1983.
‘During my time we had over 10 athletes competing in the international circuit, athletes who are not pushovers but today, instead of having more, the number has been reduced to just two who we can rely on for an appearance in the final of major global championships and Games,” said Nku who assured Senator Enoh that former Nigerian internationals across all sports are willing to support him in the onerous task of salvaging the sports sector.
‘There is no gainsaying that Senator Enoh will need the support of all stakeholders in sports, especially former Nigerian internationals across all sports and that is why I am delighted we have a man who is ready to listen and discuss issues as Sports Minister,’ said the Canada-based sprinter.
Budapest 2023: Team Nigeria Deserve Commendation, Says Minister
By Salifu Usman, Abuja
The minister of sports development, Senator John Enoh, has lauded the commitment and patriotism of Team Nigeria’s athletes to the just concluded 2023 World Athletics Championship in Budapest, Hungary.
Enoh, who received the athletes and their officials at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja on their arrival from the Games, on Tuesday, said the athletes deserve commendation for their patriotism in representing the country amid the challenges that confronted them during the championship.
The minister, in a press statement signed by the director of press and public relations, Mohammed Manga, advised the athletes not to be weighed down by their inability to hit the target, saying as a nation, *We still celebrate you because we know that you have put in every effort to make Nigeria proud.”
He explained that there is no greater honour that could have been given to these athletes who went out to represent Nigeria in far away Budapest than coming out fully, not only to receive them back home but also welcome them with a view to appreciating their earlier efforts, aimed at raising the nation’s flag high
“You may not have done as expected but as our representatives, we need to welcome you back, even if that serves as a motivation for you in preparation for future competitions,* Enoh said
The former lawmaker expressed optimism that under his watch, the next events that will require Nigerian athletes to travel to other countries will be more rewarding, both in terms of early camping, adequate training and quicker release of funds.
“It is now time for us as a Ministry to examine the challenges faced at the World Championship with a view to addressing them for more effective performances and podium finishes in subsequent global completions.*
Enoh informed the contingent that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is passionate about the development of sports in the country, not only as recreation but also to provide opportunity for economic empowerment, job creation, security and poverty alleviation, among others.