More than six years ago, this writer proposed ‘Formula for 4’, meaning a formula for winning four Olympic gold medals or more. Nobody paid any attention.
Today, Nigeria is watching the world haul medals in Tokyo while her athletes are coming home with just one silver and a bronze medal. We are right to clap for it, just like an orphan thanking a maid for a piece of bread, not knowing his father had given him bags of rice. This is a country so blessed in many aspects that it could harvest not less than 10 gold medals.
And why should 10 gold medals sound too much?
Sport is all about power – staying power – plus management skill and strategy. When the two come together as they did in the plantations of America, a world power emerges. When power and strategy stand alone, little is achieved.
When the whites of Europe used their brains and found a route to America, they saw resources but had not the power, the staying power in that place to turn them to gold. They tested every race there without success. They then tried their slaves (blacks), and boom, it worked. So, a revolution began. They brought their management skill and guided the force of black power. The result is the American civilization we see today that has pushed the world to a new height.
Now, Nigeria is the biggest black nation on planet earth; thus, a reservoir of what Europe took to America to create a boom. So, if Nigeria creates a sound sports system with the management strategies of Europe and America, what happened 250 years ago will simply happen again or more.
A Brazilian black woman, Ana Marcela Cunha, on August 4, 2021, held the viewing world spellbound when the 10km Olympic Swimming marathon, perhaps the toughest Olympic contest, took place. Cunha swept from behind about 30 minutes to go and overtook tired Australian (Kareena Lee) and the fading German lady (Leonie Beck) and striving Netherland lady (Sharon van Rouwendaal) to the front. She held on to the end and took home the prestigious gold.
The US basketball team, at a point, was all black. Blacks shone everywhere at the Olympics to remind the world how Hitler got angry and refused to hang a gold medal on [Jesse] Owens (a Black-American who was the most successful athlete with four gold medals during the Birling Olympics of 1936) in racist Germany of old.
What is needed to put Nigeria forward is a plan that would be followed to the letter. Cost? It would amaze Nigerians that it will cost just one hour’s breakfast by Nigeria’s President. The idea below was presented during former president Goodluck Jonathan’s time; now, it is Muhammadu Buhari.
So what is the formula?
When China desired to beat the world and the US in the Olympics, they hired an American as a consultant. They also decided to host it. The expert drew the blueprint, China followed it religiously and won (currently with 34 gold medals at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo).
The Nigerian President (or his delegate) should meet (or have a breakfast) with an international consultant (there are many these days) on sports and medals. The consultant should brief Mr. President and submit a blueprint.
The paper should be given to the minister of sports as a supervisory document. The minister should have a singular mandate: make the plan work.
Now, the President at that meeting with the consultant should have in attendance 10 top multinational corporations plus national corporations and willing states such as Shell, Total, Julius Berger, MTN, Glo, NNPC, NDDC, Lagos, Delta, Rivers, Kano, among others.
These corporations and states should own the project, selecting 10 sporting events such as football, handball, basketball, boxing, wrestling, sprints, long races, swimming, and others. These groups would share them out, one each. NDDC can choose swimming; others would pick too.
The consultant would engage a foreign expert in each event to develop a winning blueprint and cost it. Each sponsor will fund one and appoint a team to monitor it, recruit talents, get the best four athletes in each event and raise a team in team events.
Ten persons will contest each wing in team events until the best two emerge through an international assessment system handled only by the foreign experts.
These best ones would begin international perfection programmes like the Chinese did such that the boxers would regularly compete in or with Cuba; the wrestlers would compete with Romania, the sprinters will compete with Jamaica and US, the longer runners would compete with Ethiopia, the medium runners would compete with Kenya and others.
The athletes would be based in the best competing cities in their events for upward of four years with spending by the corporations and states that chose them through a bonded and bank-tied system. The minister will not see the money but will dedicate his life to supervising this blueprint. He briefs the President every week. It’s a national project.
The sponsoring corporations have some incentives in tax waivers, right of first refusal contracts, national honors, among other benefits. They all have corporate social responsibility budgets, and the Presidency would tell them to dedicate most of this, plus additional votes, to this national project. The result will be more than four glittering gold medals. Nigeria will shock the world. How to sustain this would be next, and the blueprint for that aspect is available, too.
Generally, it is painful how Nigerians watch the world shine. We are a proud people. Our area boys (“agberos”} watch others beat people up at the Olympics and shine. Our killers watch others hit people. Our footballers watch others play in the finals. The world has moved on.
In the Olympics, countries come to show what they have. We go to show our failings, opportunity forgone. Some countries come as winners, some as challengers, some even as pretenders, but Nigeria comes as onlookers, sightseers.
There is also a blueprint for a national sports and entertainment revolution that can employ up to 60 percent of youths. That one is there too.
Bottom Line: We are angry. The youths are angry. Give us this formula, give us a chance, and watch us rule the world. We are black; we are powerful. Just guide us!