…Ismail Mohammed, John Ogbonna are first beneficiaries
Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Barrister Solomon Dalung, donated his one month’s salary to the elite athlete development grant midwived by the Nigeria Sports Development Fund Inc (NSDFI) in Abuja while two youth athletes from Wrestling and Taekwondo are the first two athletes to enjoy the grant.
Speaking at the launch of the project meant to raise funds for 90 athletes in five sports towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Mr Dalung commended the NSDFI management for re-inventing the same structure that was used to fund the 1996 Atlanta Olympics saying, “every Nigerian should contribute their N200 to this fund.”
According to Barrister Dalung, “your initiative is one that drives confidence in contributors. You were able to simplify the funding, you laid out the way and manner the funds are meant to be used, you also created structures of former and respected athletes to manage the funds. I am very much impressed and as a mark of my faith and confidence donate my one month’s salary to the fund.”
In his earlier speech, the NSDFI Director General, Mr Olajide Fashikun said: “we shall seek the indulgence of the minister to take this campaign to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) where we want all ministers of the Federal Republic to contribute and fund, at least, one athlete to Tokyo.”
In his speech, the chairman of the Elite Athlete Development Grant committee, Stanley Nkwazema said, “Upon success at the Games, all athletes are entitled to our Olympic bonus plan. Gold medal winners will get N10million, Silver medal winners will get N7.5million and Bronze medal winners will get N5million. To ensure that the athletes maximise these opportunities, the Olympic bonus shall be paid into their account but the principal will be in Treasury Bills for a minimum of five years. They shall take the interests at the point of roll over of the principal. This is done to safeguard them from an unknown future that lies ahead of them. We want to avoid the errors of the retired athletes of today.”
Nkwazema, a former handball player added: “Already, we have shortlisted 30 athletes who were at the African Youth Games in Algeria. We are targeting raising about N5million each for them to start preparations for the 2024 Olympics. This we shall embark upon after completing the project of the elite athletes. After 2020, if the young athletes do well and meet our expectations, they shall join in the four-year N50million grant. We can only be better but we must strive to that height.”
Ismail Mohammed (Taekwondo) and John Ogbonna (Wrestling) were the first beneficiaries. Minister Solomon Dalung balloted their choice in the open before all the guests. They will each get N10m to intensify their preparation towards the Olympics.
Former handball star, Emmanuel Olubiyo, a Chartered Accountant, revealed the details of the N10m disbursement saying: “N50,000 monthly living expense amounting to N600,000.00 while N1m allowance for the athlete’s nominated coach; N350,000.00 for kits and wears. This will be available to the athlete twice a year;
He added that each of the beneficiaries are entitled to four mentees who will enjoy N100,000.00 cover. This will translate to N400,000.00 while N5m to cover competitions for the season outside Nigeria. Each of the mentees will be entitled to one trip per season outside the country.
N1.5 Treasury Bills in the athlete’s name. The interest will be used to fund the deferred annuity in their name for four years. This will enable them enjoy annuity payments till they die. However, N250,000.00 is for supplements. This shall be available to them every quarter;
“They shall enjoy comprehensive insurance and first year deferred annuity N300,000.00 They are entitled to performance bonus of N500,000.00 at the end of the season, if the beneficiary meets performance targets set between them, the federation a