In a bid to outrun others ahead of the March 28 Presidential election, President Goodluck Jonathan Saturday morning led a physical training exercise in Abuja.
Tagged “Nigerian Sportsmen and Women Solidarity Rally for President Jonathan”, the exercise saw politicians and sportsmen come together to jog around the Eagle Square.
Participants included Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senate President David Mark, former Anambra Governor, Peter Obi, Minister of Sports, Tammy Danagogo, and Director-General of the National Sports Commission, Gbenga Elegbeleye.
Among the sportsmen in attendance were former Super Eagles Captains, Kanu Nwankwo and Joseph Yobo.
Also present were former Super Eagles players, Peter Rufai, Victor Ikpeba, Taribo West; members of the national senior female team, the Super Falcons as well as some of Paralympians.
Jonathan used the opportunity to unveil his plan for the nation’s sports sector, saying he would institute a special fund for sports if re-elected on March 28. Speaking further on the fund, President Jonathan said it would also be used to bring succour to sportsmen who have brought glory to the nation but who are now in financial distress. He said the fund will “strengthen sporting activities in Nigeria further.
“There are some areas that we need to look into and I promise that when we come back, we are going to set up a special fund that will handle these special areas. “I have identified about five areas that we must look at.
“I realised that sometimes when we have major tournaments, because of government budgeting and files movement, training periods are delayed.
“We want to make sure that we stop that by setting up a special fund that can serve as a stop gap.”
Speaking, Sambo enjoined Nigerians to reject being governed by a 73-year-old president, in apparent reference to the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari is actually 72.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, said of the exercise: “A fit, healthy, energetic President jogging round the Eagle Square, Abuja surrounded by Nigerian sportsmen and women.”
An Aso Rock statement Friday said the exercise is “aimed at promoting sports and fitness in Nigeria.”
Others see it as a challenge to the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, whom Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had challenged to prove that he is fit by engaging in a physical exercise.