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With Dalung Gone, What Next For Nigeria’s Sports?

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With Dalung Gone, What Next For Nigeria’s Sports?

By Augustine Akhilomen

It was a piece of cheering news for some section of sports stakeholders in Nigeria after the name of Barr. Solomon Dalung was omitted from the Ministerial list that President Muhammadu Buhari submitted to the Senate on Tuesday.

Before now, it was almost expected that Dalung would return for another term under Buhari’s administration having been named as part of the government delegation to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. But for some unforeseen reasons, his name was omitted from the party that traveled to the land of Pharoahs.

Dalung, who was appointed Sports Minister in 2015 during the first tenure of Buhari, had several controversial issues with sports personalities in the country and his poor understanding with the game.

His appointment was greeted with discordant tunes from the sports family considering the fact that Nigerians had wanted the President to appoint someone with sports experience generally.

On his assumption to office, he assured sports-loving Nigerians of his mission to revitalize the decadence in the nation’s sports, most especially reconstructing the Main Bowl of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.

He also promised to change the face of swimming in the country, thereby competing for an event that would produce a medal for the athletes. However, the story has not changed as far as the promises he made when he assumed office.

Interestingly, Dalung could hardly associate with some of the nation’s sporting events such as Basketball, Volleyball, Tennis, Boxing, Wrestling, Squash, to mention a few.

To this end, with the omission of Dalung from Buhari’s next level ministerial list, will it help chart a new way for the nation’s sports?One would hope so given the gaffes the Plateau indigene made during his time as a Minister.

But with the names of ministerial nominees presented by the President, it’s quite difficult to see how sports generally would develop considering the fact that none of them has had any association with sports.

Some Of Dalung’s Controversial Comments That He Debunked

Falcon’s Allowance

According to Solomon Dalung, the NFF was not particularly prepared for another Falcons win, hence the delays in processing their payments. Dalung’s cringe-worthy and embarrassing defence was summed up in a quote that laid bare the inner workings of his ministry and its fatal romance with mediocrity.

The Sports Minister told reporters, “Don’t forget that nobody even knew the team (Super Falcons) will emerge victoriously. If we were confident they will emerge victoriously, all the federation would have done is to plan for the process of participation and entitlement.’’

Olympic Team Embarrassment 

Again, Dalung who alongside the National Olympic Committee was under fire for the logistics mess retorted sharply at journalists, “Who took them there? What are they there for? Because they are under 23 and they went to the US. Now they are having problems, does that become our business?” The team eventually arrived in Rio, a few hours before their opening match against Japan. They were also responsible for Nigeria’s sole medal, a Bronze at Rio.

FIFA World Cup, Russia 2018

More so, during the November international break, while serious nations busied themselves with Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers, Minister Dalung had some advice for the President.

He dished without an ounce of irony, or shame, “The cup that we (Nigeria) can win is the African Cup of Nations. There is nothing again that will take us to another man’s balcony in the name of the World Cup. We already have the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics. For these, we can attend such meets.”

Paralympics Team 

In addition, while commending the Paralympic team for their impressive performance at the Rio Summer Olympics, Dalung in an interview with Lagos’ Brila FM, played down the importance of adequate preparations for big-picture events like the Olympics, hinting of a shocking cluelessness as to how systems work. Hear him, “the disabled athletes have shown that all you need is a winning mentality and not too much preparation, they trained under the same condition with their able-bodied counterparts but they are winning medals now.” This from a federal minister of sports.

Achievements

Africa Women’s Cup of Nation Titles

Under his watch, the Super Falcons won the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations twice in 2016 and 2018.

2018 World Cup

He also ensured that Nigeria qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup without going through the usual financial hitches that the team normally encountered in the past.

Para-power lifters gym

Nigeria is a powerhouse in Para-powerlifting dominating global events with ease. The lifters continually shone brightly and won medals both on the continent and international stage for the country despite the little resources made available to them.

At this juncture, it would be ideal if President Buhari appoints a minister that understand the nitty-gritty of the game called sports in order to put the nation to the pinnacle of sports globally.

Way Forward

Perhaps, Buhari would have been applauded if personalities such as Segun Odegbami, Mitchel Obi, Aisha Falode, Mumuni Alao of Completesports, Adegboye Onigbinde, to mention a few, as the nation’s sports minister.

However, with the list out, it is believed that former, Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom) could be appointed the next Sports Minister based on his exploit in his state during his eight years stint. It was during his administration that the state-of-the-art Godswill Akpabio International Stadium was constructed. He is also a lover of sports and football to some extent based on his achievements in the state.

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Don’t Leave Nigeria To Those Messing Up The Country, Obasanjo Begs Nigerian Youths As He Offers Free Keke Ride

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Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, was behind the wheels of a tricycle (Keke) on Saturday.

Obj, as fondly called, rode through some roads in Abeokuta, capital of Ogun, to pick passengers.

The sight caught the attention of many who cheered the former Head of State and also took photos.

The elder statesman, who offered rides to citizens, moved through Moshood Abiola, NNPC Mega Station, Kuto Market, among others.

The activity was part of OBJ @ 85 Free Keke Programme of the Youth Development Centre of Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL).

In his remarks, Obasanjo appealed to the youths not to leave Nigeria to those messing it up.

The ex-leader said despite the challenges, they should try to take advantage of available opportunities to make an impact.

“Things are not what they should be but youths, individually and collectively, must make contributions in order to make things the way they should be.

“If you leave things to those who are messing it up for you and who are saying you are the leaders of tomorrow, you will never have that tomorrow.

“God has given you innate ability to be what He wants you to be. If you make up your mind, God will help you and provide people who would help you”, he added.

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We Must Fix Nigeria, Stop Europe-Bound Migrants Through Desert – Shettima

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Former Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, has decried the migration of Nigerians to European countries for greener pastures through Libya.

The PUNCH reports that no fewer than 774 stranded Nigerians have been repatriated from Libya between August ,2021 and June 1, 2022.

But Shettima believed that the country must be fixed to put a stop to migration of citizens crossing through the desert from Nigeria to Libya with the hope of getting to Europe.

He spoke at the investiture ceremony of the Managing Editor, Northern Operations of The Nation newspapers, Yusuf Ali, as the 11th president of the Rotary club of Abuja, Maitama.

Shettima, however, called for the unity of Nigerians to overcome the challenges bedeviling the country.

He said, “We have to make this country work. Nigerians would not need to go through Libya to get to Europe for survival. I believe if we are united Nigeria will survive and that is why I am proud of the Rotary club.”

Shettima also urged Nigerians to dedicate their lives to service to humanity, adding that ‘individualism, and worship of money’ were making life unpleasant in the country.


He said, “Every lifetime, that has been dedicated to professional excellence and community good, represents the type of life, that we must valorise, especially given how much we have become swamped, by an inordinate worship of the cult of money; individualism, and a crass materialism, that has increasingly made life so nasty, brutish and short, in our country, to borrow the words of the Political Philosopher, Thomas Hobbes.”

When asked about the jostle for the vice presidential candidate of the APC, Shettima declined comment.

He said, ” This is a non partisan event it will be an insult to make a political comment here. At the appropriate time we will talk politics.”

In his remarks, Ali called on the government to ensure Nigerians have access to basic infrastructures.

He warned that failure to do this would spell doom for the nation.

Ali said, “Unless all Nigerians have access to basic needs, we won’t be able to make it as a nation. We have abundant human resources but our souls are weak and malfunctioning.”

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Shun Grievances, Work For APC In 2023, Amaechi Tells Supporters

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The immediate past Transport Minister, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, has directed his supporters in Rivers State to set aside their anger and work for the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2023.

Amaechi, a former governor of the state, spoke on Saturday, when thousands of APC supporters trooped out in Port Harcourt to give him grand reception after the Presidential primary election.

The former minister, who came second at the primary poll, was received by party enthusiasts, who followed him from the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, to the APC state secretariat in Port Harcourt.

Amaechi, who vowed to stay in Rivers and ensure the victory of APC, appealed to his supporters to return to their various units and work for the APC in 2023.

He said: “Please, in the contest for the presidency, we should know that we must go and vote for our party, no matter how angry you are, they have chosen, let’s go and vote for our party.

“For the stories you hear about the people who are gossiping how they are having meetings in France, let this be your own France. Vote for your party, don’t be afraid, just go home and do your work.

“Don’t be afraid, go home and work, that’s why I came, I came to thank you, I came to urge you to go home and work, let all of us be unit leaders, no more local government leaders, ward leaders.

“If you check in INEC, they are no longer announcing ward results, they are announcing unit results. So let go home and win our units and bring our units home.

“Those days of meeting, writing results have all gone, we must praise INEC, praise the National Assembly for reducing the level of rigging, where people write results and INEC will just announce, now it is almost gone.”

In his remarks, the state APC governorship candidate, Tonye Cole, assured supporters that the APC would be on the ballot in 2023.

He said: “My mission here is three-fold, one to reassure you that we will be on the ballot, number two, that there is no court case that we will lose because God is on our side, number three, we have won already.

“Why have we won? Because at the grassroots, we are number one, number two, on every ballot, we are number one, number three, we serve a God that is number one.”

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