Sports is no doubt one of the most unifying factors in Nigeria.

It is one activity that brings all tribes, religion and ethnic groups together in unity.

Nigeria has also performed well in sports in the past, but lately, there has been a turnaround, unfortunately, for the worse.

Bounce News takes a look at how the most populous black nation in the world has fared since the coming of president Muhammadu Buhari in May 2015.

2016 Olympics

The Nigeria Olympic Committee fielded a squad of 77 athletes, 51 men and 26 women, to compete in ten sports at the 2016 Olympic Games.

It was the nation's largest delegation sent to the Olympics since 2000, increasing by a third of its full roster size at London 2012.

Among the sports represented by the nation's athletes, Nigeria marked its Olympic debut in rowing, as well as its return to swimming and men's football after an eight-year absence.

Apart from the men's football squad, Nigeria also returned to the Olympic scene in men's basketball for the second consecutive time.

Football

In the period under review, Nigeria performed woefully in football. Failing to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

In 2016, the Dream Team, coached by Samson Siasia and captained by John Obi Mikel at the time, were abandoned in the United States where they went for camping prior to the Olympics, they arrived in Brazil less than 24 hours to their first game.

Nigeria failed to qualify for any football event in 2017. The U17 national team – Golden Eaglets could not book a ticket to the U17 AFCON, the FIFA U17 World Cup, while the Flying Eagles also missed out on the AFCON U20 and the FIFA U20 World Cup.

Although the Super Falcons won the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon in 2016, controversy trailed their victory as they refused to leave their hotel in protest of unpaid bonuses.

Days later, the players were paid and left the Abuja hotel.


2016 Summer Paralympics

The 2016 Summer Paralympics was not a bad event for Nigeria.

The west African country competed at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 7 September to 18 September 2016. Nigeria's delegation of 23 was mostly composed of power lifters, with the country sending 14 lifters to Rio.

Nigeria finished 17th, winning eight gold, two silver and two bronze medals.

Basketball

The AfroBasket 2015 was held in Radès, Tunisia between 19–30 August 2015 where Nigeria won their first ever AfroBasket, beating Angola in the final 74–65.

The victory in Tunisia qualified Nigeria for the 2016 Olympics where the D’Tigers finished bottom of Group B that also has host Brazil, Spain, Lithuania, Croatia and Argentina.

Athletics

Athletics is one sport Nigeria has won most medals in the past.  

Nigeria came second at the 2015 All Africa Games from September 4–19, in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo with a total of 47 gold, 55 silver and 42 bronze medal.

At the elite competition in athletics alone, Nigeria won eight gold, nine silver and four bronze. While in the para-sport competition, it won four gold, five silver and six bronze medals.

However, the athletes were unsuccessful as they returned with no medal from the 2016 Olympics.

The 2016 World Youth Championship was woeful, no medal was won as Nigeria arrived late, and athletes complained of shoddy treatment.

If Sport is to be maximised in Nigeria, it should be considered and treated as a business not an act of loyalty to the government.

A sense of patriotism should be attached to it but it should also be taken as seriously as the careers of bankers, medical doctors, software engineers.