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



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.


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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Fuel Subsidy: NLC Suspends Thursday’s Nationwide Protest



The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called off the planned nationwide protest against the proposed removal of fuel subsidy.

Addressing journalists on Tuesday at the Labour House in Abuja, NLC president, Ayuba Wabba said that: ” Following the reversal and reapproach by government, the national Executive Council of NLC met this morning virtually to consider the new position of the government.

“The NEC after vigorous debates took a decision to suspend the planned nationwide protest scheduled for January 27 and the national protest scheduled for February 2nd”.

Details later…

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JUST IN: CBN Committee Retains Benchmark Interest Rate At 11.5%



The Central Bank of Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Committee on Tuesday retained the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 11.5% and kept all other parameters unchanged.

CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele made the announcement while addressing journalists at the bank’s headquarters in Abuja.

The MPR, which has remained unchanged for months, is a powerful tool for regulating interest rates in the economy.

Lowering the rate could have stimulated more borrowing while raising the rate could have signaled the CBN’s intention to reduce the economy’s money supply.

Details later…

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Insecurity: IPOB Fires Back At Army, Says ESN Not Militants



The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, on Tuesday, accused the Nigerian security forces of lying against its members.

IPOB said contrary to claims by security agencies, that Eastern Security Network, ESN, is not a militant group and are not cannibals.

A statement by IPOB’s spokesman, Emma Powerful, reiterated that the group has no camps in Lilu, Orsumoghu in Anambra State and Mbaise, Obowo in Imo State.

Powerful in a statement said, “The global movement and family of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) under the command and leadership of our great leader Mazi Nnamdi KANU wish to once again, debunk the falsehood and propaganda by the Nigeria army and police against innocent Biafran youths especially Eastern Security Network ESN operatives.

“The Nigeria Army Commander, as well as the Police Commissioner in Imo State, derive pleasure in dishing out fake information and falsehood to disrepute IPOB and ESN operatives.

“We, therefore, want to once again, declare that contrary to fabricated lies by the security agencies, ESN has no camp in Lilu, Orsumoghu in Anambra State and Mbaise, Obowo in Imo State. The claims by the Nigerian security agencies that they discovered IPOB/ESN camps in the affected communities are all lies concocted to blackmail us and justify further destruction of more Igbo communities by security agents.

“IPOB and ESN have no camps in these communities. We are not militants nor cannibals. Criminals can never be said to be IPOB/ESN members. We are not cultists. Our mission is the restoration of Biafra, and that has nothing to do with cannibalism and abominable things allegedly going on in such camps.

“Nigerian security agencies and government of Imo State created these criminals thinking they can demonize IPOB and ESN members but unfortunately they turned against innocent members of the society.”

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