The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo yesterday received the Queen’s Baton for Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on behalf of President Buhari at the State House.
The President of the Commonwealth Games in Nigeria, Habu Gumel, had earlier received the baton at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and handed it to the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, who then presented it to the Vice President.
In his remarks, Osinbajo said, “This is a much-loved tradition which precedes every Commonwealth Games; a baton carrying Her Majesty’s message of goodwill to the Commonwealth goes on a 90,000 mile, 72 country journey to end at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“As the relay goes from one Commonwealth member country to another, in its journey across several continents, the two billion-strong population of the Commonwealth are reminded of the strong bonds of brotherhood and friendship that bind us, across these continents, nations, races, tongues, and faiths.
“This joyful event will end at this time in Birmingham, the city that will host the games in 2022.
“Nigerian athletes will join their brothers and sisters at the games, as we have done at several occasions of the games since we first attended in 1950, when Joshua Majekodumi won our first medal, in the high jump event;
”Since then, our athletes have won no less than 236 medals at the games! We are set to do much better in Birmingham.”
Applauding the relay team for their dedication to the tour covering thousands of miles, Osinbajo said the organizing committee’s hard work made the delivery of the relay event seamless.
While commenting, the Sports Minister, Sunday Dare described the event as another remarkable milestone of the Commonwealth Games Federation which signified peace, unity, and love among the comity of nations.
According to him, it was exciting to be associated with the iconic event of hosting the Queen’s Baton relay being the very first African country to do so.
The minister said it was the equivalent of the Olympic torch relay.
The Commonwealth Games boss, Gumel, on his part, said that the baton, on a tour of Africa, was launched from Buckingham Palace earlier in the month by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth 11, the Patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation.
The baton would return to the UK on July 28, 2022, for the opening ceremony of the games.