AS PREPARATIONS intensify behind the scenes for the 4th edition of Islamic Solidarity Games holding in Baku, Azerbaijan, Nigeria’s participation at games is causing some unease in the Solomon Dalung -led Ministry of Youth and Sports. Nigeria has over the years staved off pressure to feature at the regional multisport games, highlighting it’s secular status as reason , but the situation seem to have taken a worrying twist with the coming of the Mohammadu Buhari administration. The administration, we reliably learnt had endorsed the participation of Nigerian sports men and women, and even dispatched a delegation led by Christian Ohaa, former Permanent Secretary of the ministry, to attend the Chief de Mission meeting held in Baku, some time last year. Nigerian Pilot Sports learnt that the pressure to drag the country into the regional games has not gone down well with staff of the ministry, who believe that the government is not properly advised in present bid. “This regional games is purely for the Muslim world and I doubt if a secular state like Nigeria should concern itself with it. Those who are pushing for it ought to know that they are not doing this administration any good. Recall that critics of the administration have accused Buhari of plot to Islamize Nigeria. Sending a delegation to this games would only add, not subtract from this raging accusation”, stated a staff of the ministry. Nigeria’s participation in the games is not captured in the 2017 budget but it was learnt that the ministry has been assured of necessary funds from extra budgetary sources like the National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF). According to an online post on its website, the Islamic Solidarity Games are a regional multi-sport event held between nations from the Muslim world . The first edition was held in Saudi Arabia in 2005 while the 2013 edition took place in Indonesia. Sports to feature include athletics, parathletics, boxing, judo, karate, football, Gymnastics, basketball, handball, volleyball, swimming, waterpolo, table tennis, weightlifting and tennis. Others are wrestling, taekwondo, shooting, among other. It is not clear yet how many sports Nigeria would be featuring at the games.

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  • Simon JEGGI

    Honestly, Nigeria should have no business to participate in such events. Nigeria is a secular state and for the authorities to endorse such acts is an indication that the nation is sliding into a religious state, which is against the constitution. This is one of the problems of this country. Nigeria is not for one religion.