Patricia Nwaolai with Agency reports
A visibly disappointed Jonathan and Yakubu Gowon clap after the announcement
Disappointed by the outright rejection of Abuja’s bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Nigerian bid officials are throwing up charges of racism and “predetermined outcome” by members of the Commonwealth Games Family.
Leading the pack is Nigeria’s Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan, head of delegation to Colombo, Sri Lanka where the winner was announced. Jonathan slammed the Games Family saying the overwhelming defeat suffered by Abuja was unfair to Africa.
However, Kenya African and World half marathon champion, Moses Tanui was more pointed in his criticism of the Games Family accusing it racism.
Tanui, who was one of Abuja Bid Ambassadors, said “it is obvious the white members of the commonwealth d o not like Africans.’
Other Nigerians on the country’s Games Bidding Committee and indeed some Africans here spoke in the same vein after the 71-member Commonwealth Games Federation awarded the 2014 games to Glasgow, Scotland, with a 47-24 vote here.
Reacting to the defeat, Vice President Jonathan, who lead the powerful Nigeria n delegation which included former Nigerian leader, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, to the CGF general assembly, said he believed the games family was unkind in failing to award Abuja the hosting right of the Games.
“They were unfair to the Nigerian and African bid,” Jonathan told newsmen sho rtly after Abuja was beaten.
He said given all that the Nigerian bid committee had put on show to deserve the hosting right, they (the games family) denied Abuja, and indeed the whole of Africa, the opportunity to showcase their hospitality should the games be held in Nigeria.
Abdulrahman Gimba, Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC) and Minister of Sports and Social Development, said the defeat showed a predetermined outcome.
“I am satisfied that we put up a good fight,” Gimba added.
Habu Gumel, the President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), said “we gave the bid our best shot.”
Nigerian Senator, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, said the outcome of the ballot was an indication that Africans did not have a future in the Commonwealth, while another N igerian Dr. Tijani Yusuf of the Ministry of Sports, said the result was enough i n dication that it would take Africa a long while to have the opportunity of hosting the Games.
Even Gen. Gowon was shocked when the CGF President Mike Fennell called out the result. A roundly-disappointed Gowon, the head of the Nigerian Bid Committee, threw his arms up in despair and managed a wry smile.
Fennel later told Gowon “I hope it doesn’t end there”, a statement seen by man y as very distasteful.
Other disappointed Africans also commented on the defeat. Zambian NOC President, Mirian Moyo, said she could not believe the wide margin with which Glasgow won .
“I expected a close race,” she lamented.