Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, dashed to the Presidential Villa on Tuesday to hold a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
It was to seek the President’s intervention for the release of funds to prepare adequately for major sporting events Nigeria would participate in up to August this year.
Two of the competitions, the 2019 Africa Beach Soccer in Cape Verde, and the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, will take place in June.
The third event is the 12th All-Africa Games, which will be hosted by Morocco in Rabat from August 19 to 31.
The minister spoke with State House correspondents in Abuja soon after the meeting ended, saying that without timely release of funds, there would be challenges in preparing for the competitions.
He also raised the issue of the African Union Volunteers Corp, staged by the African Union.
However, he said the African Games too had their own peculiar challenge because the proposal came after the ministry had concluded work on the 2019 budget now awaiting passage by the National Assembly.
But, he was optimistic that a presidential intervention before May 29 would still afford Nigeria the opportunity to prepare fully for the Women’s World Cup and other sporting events.
He disclosed that the country was expected to have a large contingent that would participate in 15 sports and at least five non-Olympic events.
“The President needs to be in the picture of this urgent demand as he transits to another administration by May 29,” Dalung said.
Dalung praised his tenure as the sports minister, claiming that he democratised sports administration in the country.
He also credited his tenure with winning more than 700 medals for the country.