As member nations prepare for the 2022 Commonwealth games, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, received the Queen’s Baton Relay at a brief ceremony, held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The event started with a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London, as part of the city’s Commonwealth Day festivities.
Nigerian athletes are expected to join their brothers and sisters at the games, as they have done since the country first outing in 1950, when Joshua Majekodunmi won the nation’s first medal, in the high jump event.
A baton carrying Her Majesty’s message of goodwill to the Commonwealth had gone on a 90,000 mile, a 72-country journey to end at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Vice President Osinbajo, who received the baton on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, said: “It’s a very special pleasure to welcome the Queen’s Baton Relay to Nigeria today. This is a much-loved tradition, which precedes every commonwealth games.”
“As the relay goes from one commonwealth member country to another in its country journey across several continents, the two-billion strong population of the commonwealth is reminded of the strong bonds of brotherhood and friendship that bind us across these continents, nations, races, tongues and faiths…
“Since then, our athletes have won no less than 236 medals at the games! We are set to do much better in Birmingham.”
Osinbajo commended the Nigerian relay team for its cheerfulness and dedication to the tour covering thousands of miles, the organising committees for all their hard work in seamlessly delivering the relay event and the athletes, who will bring excitement and thrill to millions at this festival of sport and culture.
Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, who disclosed that Nigeria was the first African country to host the Queen’s Baton Relay, said the event signified unity, peace and love among member nations.
“The giant stride by both the Commonwealth Games Federation and the Birmingham 2022 Organiser in ensuring that the Queen’s Baton visits the 72 Commonwealth nations and territories to spread the goodwill message of the games to the sporting world community is highly commendable…” he said.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catariona Liang, said the baton left Buckingham Palace on October 7, 2021 with the spirit of the Commonwealth Games of humanity, equality and diversity.
She stated that these games are special, as they represent the Commonwealth values. President of Commonwealth Games Nigeria, Abu Gumel, said the Baton would return on July 28, 2022 to the United Kingdom for the opening ceremony of the Birmingham Games, where the message inside would be read by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
Credit: Guardian Nigeria