December 8, 2022

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Sunday Dare: Three years of progress in Nigeria’s youth and sports activities sectors

Minister Sunday Dare

The comment by Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, on the efficiency of Youth and Sports activities Minister, Chief Sunday Dare, within the final three years as delivered in Asaba, Delta State capital on the night time of July 7, 2022 on the official unveiling of Delta 2022 Nationwide Sports activities Competition Mascot, might not have been exhaustive with regard to the feats that Dare has garnered to date within the saddle. However the comment nonetheless summed up Dare’s distinguished administration of youth and sports activities in Nigeria.

Okowa mentioned: “Youth and Sports activities Minister, Chief Sunday Akin Dare, has introduced excessive stage dedication to sports activities improvement in Nigeria. But, he stays so humble in his method. I’m very a lot inspired to work with him to see what finest might be achieved for Nigeria. I discover the work he’s doing and I’m happy with him on this respect.”

The World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, United States proved to be the crowning glory for sports activities administration in Nigeria and remarkably below the management of Dare.

US-based Tobi Amusan gained gold within the 100m hurdles occasion in 12.12 seconds, breaking the world report within the course of. Her compatriot, Ese Brume, additionally leapt 7.2m within the lengthy bounce to win silver on an unforgettable night time for Nigerians at dwelling and world wide.

Each Amusan and Brume would quickly after win gold medal once more of their respective occasions on the 2022 Commonwealth Video games in Birmingham in what turned out as Nigeria’s finest efficiency ever within the quadrennial occasion with the nation successful 12 gold, 9 silver and 14 bronze, totalling 35 medals and representing the best at a single Commonwealth Video games for the nation’s contingent, along with ending as one of the best ranked African nation on the medals desk after putting seventh.

Certainly, Dare didn’t go away anybody doubtful of his capability to excel after he took over mantle of management of the Ministry of Youth and Sports activities in August 2019. To say he hit the bottom operating can be placing it mildly.

Maybe, his background as journalist and administrative expertise on the Nigerian Communications Fee (NCC) mixed to assist him calm down shortly into the onerous activity of marshaling the nation’s youth in the direction of a sustainable future in addition to revolutionising the sports activities sector. However he has navigated each terrains enviably.

In what was unprecedented, he established the Nigerian Youth Funding Fund to the tune of N75 billion and instantly earmarked over 30, 000 youths as beneficiaries.

The Digital Abilities Entrepreneurship Employability Management (DEEL) initiative was additionally launched to coach the youths in eleven completely different areas that embody management, robotics and synthetic intelligence, cell gadget repairs, 60 Days App Problem, Digital Youth Nigeria by the IBM Digital Nation Africa, Microsoft EMMI, Google Digital on-boarders CDS for youth corps members, tailoring and confectionery, with about 220, 000 beneficiaries each bodily and just about.

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The Work Expertise Programme (WEP), a three-month paid internship, additionally noticed over 4, 000 youths benefitting.

He additionally supplied the aggregator web site to assist the youths on targeted alternatives round programmes involving the federal government and personal sector. Apart renovating 5 Nationwide Youth Growth Centres throughout the nation, a feat that didn’t precede his administration, Dare additionally signed Memorandum of Understanding bilaterally with Turkey, South Africa, Ethiopia, Ghana, Egypt, Qatar, Iran, Spain and UAE on youth improvement with concurrence on sports activities improvement.

The primary ever Nationwide Youth Convention that Dare staged in November 2021 in Abuja, the place over 800 youths from 36 states and the Federal Capital gathered, along with over two million taking part on-line, has remained talk-of-the-country for having handed the multitude of Nigerian youths alternative to share developmental concepts on a typical platform. The month-to-month stipend for members of the Nationwide Youth Service Corps (NYSC) witnessed a rise from N18, 000 to N33, 000, drawing rapturous applause from the beneficiaries who unanimously confessed to having not had it so good within the scheme.

A transparent reduce coverage all the time units any revolution aside. Dare has demonstrated similar for sports activities since 2019. The Nigerian Sports activities Trade Coverage, which sought to attract inputs from Nigerian sports activities personalities at dwelling and world wide, has attracted applause for the minister as he seeks to get all of the related people able to render service to the nation. In the mean time, the draft of this specific coverage is with the Federal Ministry of Justice for vetting. His reclassification of sports activities as enterprise, which has been permitted by the Federal Govt Council, has attracted related applause, in addition to the widely-acclaimed 10-year Soccer Grasp Plan that seeks to return the nation’s soccer to its wonderful days, the ultimate report of which a committee not too long ago submitted to the sports activities minister.

A Personal-Public Partnership that arose from the adopt-an-infrastructure coverage has led to the renovation of Moshood Abiola Nationwide Stadium, Abuja; Nationwide Stadium, Surulere; Liberty Stadium, Ibadan; and Daura Township Stadium, Daura. The adopt-an-athlete coverage has additionally benefitted 45 female and male athletes in addition to the nationwide basketball groups, with over US$500, 000 raised from rich people and company our bodies.

The ministry funded the method of securing scholarship for Ineh Oritsemeyiwa and Rosemary Chukwuma to review in the US of America whereas the minister additionally donated private funds to athletes and officers who participated on the 2019 African Youth Championships in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

Regardless of the debilitating results of Covid-19, the Dare administration nonetheless staged the Nationwide Youth Video games in Ilorin in 2021 to nationwide applause, having additionally hosted the 2019 version on the similar venue. Edo 2020 Nationwide Sports activities Competition that suffered postponement attributable to Covid-19 was additionally efficiently staged in 2021, due to Dare’s doggedness in mobilising the varied stakeholders for the occasion. Grassroots sports activities additionally obtained satisfactory consideration with the rejuvenated return of Nationwide Principals Cup and Expertise Hunt Programme that function throughout the nation.

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The Principals Cup significantly was within the cooler for 25 years earlier than the Dare administration revived the as soon as in style annual expertise searching occasion in 2021, even including athletics and desk tennis to the hitherto primarily soccer competitors to offer the youth vast participation.

He additionally revived the One Service One Medal Video games for the Armed Forces in an apparent transfer that goals to make sure sports activities buzz everywhere in the nation. The Sports activities Corridor of Fame has additionally been resuscitated, resulting in honouring 60 sports activities heroes and heroines to mark Nigeria’s sixtieth independence anniversary in 2020. Plans are in pipeline to revive lengthy distance races in Nigeria. Maybe, Dare has weighed in his childhood background within the plateau space of the nation as he seeks to spare no effort in bringing again to life the moribund distance races on the Pankshin and Mambila mountains. Within the midst of this, the sports activities ministry can be working in consonance with the Nationwide Meeting for the return of the Nationwide Sports activities Fee.

Dare initiated and has sustained the Athletes Welfare Scheme commendably, with previous athletes benefitting as by no means earlier than. Households of late heroes Rashidi Yekini, Sam Okwaraji, Ali Jeje and Sunday Bada have benefitted from this scheme that’s personally supervised by the minister for good impact.

Ailing ex-athletes like Kadiri Ikhana, Sunday Eboigbe, Jerry Okorodudu, Ikem Akaraiwe and Funke Oshonaike have additionally loved medical help from the ministry. An N11 million aid package deal was coordinated by the minister to ease athletes’ stress throughout Covid-19 and over 220 of the affected athletes benefitted from the largesse.

There are additionally self-sustenance measures being put in place for the varied sporting associations below the sports activities ministry. Particularly, the Nigeria Soccer Federation (NFF) is on its strategy to 85 per cent self-funding, apparently on account of the massive funding that the federation attracts from the ministry’s annual finances.

A marked enchancment has been recorded in handball and wrestling, signifying a fast-paced return to previous glory for handball and consistence for wrestling which gained a silver medal for Nigeria on the Tokyo Olympics.

Remuneration of athletes for medals gained additionally rose to 300 per cent, itself unprecedented, and it introduced commensurate outcomes out of the athletes.

The Tigress gained Afro Basketball title for 3 consecutive occasions, whereas 4 gold and three silver had been gained on the World Junior Athletics Championships; one silver and one bronze gained on the Tokyo Olympic Video games, the primary of such feat in 13 years; and 4 gold, one silver and 7 bronze on the Paralympic Video games that adopted. There are WAFU B U-20 and U-17 soccer gold gained not too long ago so as to add as much as the medals haul.
Dare’s latest tour of Portugal’s “Soccer Metropolis” in Lisbon is a veritable demonstration of his quest to depart a permanent legacy for sports activities in Nigeria, which units him aside from his predecessors. As he mentioned whereas being hosted on the gigantic facility: “My imaginative and prescient for the resuscitation of present sports activities amenities in Nigeria is to put a strong basis for what will likely be a steady step-by-step transformation of sports activities infrastructure in Nigeria.”

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It’s pertinent to state that for the primary time since independence in 1960, the Federal Authorities permitted N148 billion for youth (N60 billion) and sports activities (N88 billion) for the 2021-2025 Nationwide Growth Plan. It additionally needs to be acknowledged that it is because of Dare’s tireless pursuit of excellence for the 2 key sectors he superintends.

Dare’s exceptional three-year tenure as youth and sports activities minister has not been with out challenges, chief of which is insufficient funding. Nevertheless, by his rigorous efforts, this has not posed a severe risk to progress in lots of cases.

Nigeria’s failure to qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup doubtless proved a setback for his administration, particularly because it has been 17 years for the reason that Tremendous Eagles did not qualify for the 2006 World Cup hosted by Germany. Nevertheless, the non-qualification for Qatar owed extra to ill-luck than Dare’s failure to supply the workforce the mandatory help.

The latest withdrawal of Nigeria from worldwide basketball additionally represents what has been considered avoidable problem, contemplating the foreseen speedy value of the withdrawal. However the truth that the disaster within the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), which sparked the withdrawal, has been resolved additionally signifies that the unity required to realize a typical function for Nigerian basketball has been achieved.

Likewise, the downturn within the efficiency of Tremendous Falcons on the latest 2022 Girls Africa Cup of Nations proved a nasty patch for ladies soccer within the nation after the Falcons slipped to unprecedented fourth place within the competitors they’ve dominated since inception in 1998. However the classes learnt therefrom would serve within the improvement and promotion of girls soccer in Nigeria going ahead.

With out a shred of doubt, nonetheless, Dare has total earned for himself previously three years an enviable spot within the historical past of sports activities administration in Nigeria.

Ayodele Philips, a social commentator lives and works in Lagos