By Sylvanus Ofekun
Asking me to rate or score the one year in office of Mr. Sunday Dare as the Minister of Youth and Sports Development in the Federal Republic of Nigeria would be unfair considering the two-in-one portfolio he is being assigned to function.
Again, how far has the Buhari-led administration fared and how much impact has he made? Looking at the three-legged mantra the president promised which are: security, fighting corruption and diversifying the economy.
How has the Ministry responsible for Youth and Sports Development helped Mr. President in meeting up with his goals for the nation?
Nigerians have rated Buhari’s government as a failed one, since, none of his promises have been kept. Can a good tooth be found in a rotten mouth, if I may ask?
As a Sports Journalist, I can give an assessment of Mr. Sunday Dare’s performance in sports for the past 365 days in charge of sports, starting from his good side, bad side and ugly side.
Dare’s emergence as sports minister was embraced and celebrated by stakeholders because his previous political roles have ended with good testimonies.
Dare dresses well, and speaks well devoid of his mother tongue interference and above all, a fine journalist who interacts with his followers on his verified Twitter account.
Sadly, Dare’s poor acumen in handling disputes, has made him an interloper who meddles with local sports politics, especially his bout with sports federation presidents.
lt’s on record that he dragged a certain federation president to court. How could a Federal Minister get himself involved in petty issues that resulted in court appearances, is he not supposed to be busy?
His tussle for power and the desperation to grab headlines has been his biggest Achilles heels, more so, the steering reality of Covid-19 which has disrupted all sporting and other activities in the country.
The ugly side of Dare’s voyage in sports are so massive with one needing an expert in the field of taxonomy to help out in classifying his administrative malfeasance, with the recent being the most celebrated draft of National Sports Policy.
The Sports Policy was put together by an oblivious 800 sports persons who churned out an omnibus copy and paste document that ended with a glamorous submission, a virtual event that was widely celebrated by Mr. Sunday Dare.
Amidst the jubilation came the constructive criticism by a sports technocrat, Chris Emeruwa PhD in an interview conducted by a popular TV station in Nigeria which saw a concerned Dr. Emeruwa fault the composition of the committee and the submitted draft of the sports policy.
“They came up with a document that is over 170 pages, first and foremost, the document is too voluminous,” he said
Continuously, he added that, “secondly, when you look at that content critically, you will find out that are things that are in the document that are not supposed to be there, let me give an example, you are developing a document, you don’t need to tell us about the rationale behind the policy, you also do not need to tell us the history of Nigeria sports.
We don’t need the history of Nigeria sports in a policy document. The policy document should show us the clear direction sports need to take. I know the intentions, but unfortunately they were unable to articulate their intentions properly.
They consulted over 800 stakeholders, and when I look at the list of those they consider stakeholders, I found out that for example the Nigeria Association for Physical and Health Education, Recreation, Sports and Dance NAPHER-SD, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria SWAN, President of Sports Federations as a cluster was not there, Secretary General of Sports Federations were not there, the states in which to implement the policy; commissioners of sports as cluster were not there, Sports marketers as a cluster were not there.
Even other stakeholders you may think are not important; supporters club of Nigeria is also a stakeholder in sports were never invited at any point in time. You also talk about coaches association, athletes; the athletes you are planning all things for, their association was never represented at any point in the 800 list that you have as stakeholders.
So I ask a question, if all these components are not included in the 800 stakeholders that participated at different times, who then are the sports stakeholders that you have considered when you were putting together this document?” Emeruwa posited.
What then is there to celebrate? The vague promises about the rehabilitation of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja which he tied to Billionaire businessma, Mr. Aliko Dangote.
The minister made the promise on October 2019 with no sign of his promise coming to pass until he unveiled a signage on June 12, 2020 after the President gave his longest speech of about 38 minutes in a 96 paragraph address to Nigerians to mark the June 12 democracy day celebration.
President Buhari had touched on every sectors apart from sports, only for Mr. Dare to select few individuals including journalists to the unveiling of a sign board that carries the name ‘Moshood Abiola National Stadium’ Abuja.
A week before the unveiling, June 8, 2020 precisely, Mr. Dare tells journalists that the national stadium is functioning maximally and that the presence of grasses doesn’t affect the functionality of the stadium.
Haba! Mr. Minister said this because I am aware that he is not very experienced in sports affairs and has not travel round the world to see how functional stadia look.
The appointment of Daniel Amokachi as the Special Adviser to the President on Sports has invited mixed feelings from sports lovers in Nigeria, some commended it while some kicked against it. But, Dare needs to know the truth, absolutely nothing has been done in sports since his emergence as sports minister.
He should not be led astray or deceived by his numerous praise singers that go with some melodious musical notes that he has done well, even the comedian, Mr. Macaroni will say the same if he sees his prey around – ooin you are doing well.
In Dare’s case, ooin you are not doing well, please do better for the good of Nigerian Youth and Sports. We want to see new policies in place with sustainable implementation plans in the next year.