*We saved Nigeria N7billion
*Honouring athletes, Ministry retirees in Abuja
By Olayinka Elebute, Oluwole Francis
Barrister Solomon Dalung the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, has charged against the Rotimi Amechi-led Presidential World Cup committee when we attended the 2010 World Cup, which he claimed are wasteful given the amount that would have been spent if such a committee had been mandated to play that role again.
He said that the absence of a Presidential committee has not only aided the seamless qualification of the Super Eagles for Russia 2018 World Cup with a game to spare, saved the country N7billion.
Dalung revealed on Friday in Abuja while giving his speech during the Award Dinner for retirees from his ministry and medallists at the VIP Lodge of the Abuja National Stadium.
He praised the efforts of the ministry in ensuring that the Super Eagles were adequately motivated and supported in their quest to qualify for the football mundial.
According to Dalung, the Super Eagles have always struggled to qualify for the previous World Cup tournaments that necessitated previous government to set up Presidential Task Force in the past and this special task forces gulped a whopping N7billion, but the situation changed for better this term and Nigerians did not need to have hypertension to see their beloved team hoist the Nigerian flag in Russia.
“We are glad to inform Nigerians that for the first time in so many years, the Super Eagles qualified for the World Cup tournament with a game remaining in the group. Nigerians were happy, but most importantly is the fact that the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development saved the nation N7billion, which would have gone into setting up a Presidential Task Force as was witnessed in previous government.”
Dalung who did not mention the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in the quest to qualify for the World Cup added : “The ministry will continue to support the development of sports in Nigeria”.
He, however frowned at the reward system in Nigeria, which has not really honoured the sporting heroes and heroines of the past, especially after serving their fatherland in their prime and forgotten at their retirement age, left and abandoned to suffer the cruel fate and path at their old age.
“The problem in Nigeria and in sports particularly is the reward system. The real people who served the country are not recognised and rewarded with national awards.
“The national awards are not just for the politicians. People in civil service that served this country meritoriously ought to be rewarded. That is the reason the ministry is rewarding retirees and medallists, who excelled serving their fatherland,” he said.