A Non-Governmental Organisation, One Nigeria Youths, says Solomon Dalung, the Minister of Youths and Sports Development is a huge blessing to the development of Nigeria’s sports.
The group’s coordinator, Magnus Oku, in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja, said that recent criticism against Dalung was unfair, baseless and unjustified.
Oku said that out of the several sports ministers Nigeria has had since inception of democratic dispensation, none made the type of impact Dalung had made in Nigeria’s sports.
He said that Dalung was able to identify the need for change which he began by democratising the sports sector in Nigeria which resulted in the evolving, growing sports industry.
“Last year only, Dalung recorded a milestone in sports development which included: Nigeria emerging overall champions at the 5th African Wrestling Championship which held in Port Harcourt Nigeria between Feb. 7 to Feb. 11.
“Nigeria also came first in major category of the championship with 90 Gold medals; for the first time, Nigeria participated in Olympic winter games which held between Feb. 9 to Feb. 15 where the trio of Shewun Adigo, Ngozi Owunmere and Akona Amioga made history at the 23rd Olympic winter games where participants achieved their personal best.
“Team Nigeria finished strong at 2018 Commonwealth games after a four year break winning 9 Gold, 9 Silver, and 6 bronze medals.
“Also, the tigress made history as the first African country to qualify for the next round of FIBA world cup finishing 8th in the world for the first time.
“This was a good buildup for 2017 achievements which included Nigeria’s qualification as first African Nation for FIFA world cup without a presidential tax force which saved the nation a lot of money; it was an outstanding achievement as they made it the first African team on qualification list.
“We can recall the big breakthrough of D’ tigers at FIBA African Championship and the exploit of D’ Tigress at Afro Basketball women Championship within 2015-2017 among other exploits recorded under in athletics, volleyball ball among others.’’
Oku said that in recent time, the present form of the sports federation and the NFF had enhanced Nigeria’s relationship with the World Football Governing Body (FIFA) to the point that the organisation decided to hold an Executive Football Summits (EFS) in Feb. 2018.
According to him, this singular action informed the emergence of credible leadership for the federations; the immediate dividend of which has been the manifest improvement in the performances of the federations in various continental and international tournaments.
On the issue of NFF power tussle, Oku said that Dalung never imposed Chris Giwa or anyone else in any of the sports federations on Nigerians.
He said that the case of Amaju Pinnick and Chris Giwa was simply a result of the pride and arrogance of the former seeing himself as FIFAs anointed one.
“Recall that at the inception of this tussle Dalung had called on the parties and solicited as a father to resolve the matter as a family, but that was not taken by Pinnick who was comfortable with going to court.
“It is a known fact that if you submit yourself to a court of competent jurisdiction, you must accept the court injunction and outcome?
“One will wonder why the same Pinnick who insisted on following a court process, refused to comply with the ruling of the court.
“Dalung simply followed a Democratic process by letting the rule of law to have its right course in the process.
“Dalung, as a lawyer, would always be applauded for his stance on the rule of law as there is nothing in Law and jurisprudence that can credibly object Dalung’s submission.
“Dalung remains loyal to the rule of law as an indispensable factor in the administration of a state and the hope of the common man and believes that such should never be compromised.
“You may as well agree with me that we cannot submit ourselves to neocolonialism as a sovereign nation allowing an external law to thwart our judicial process as a nation,’’ he said
Oku said that could not effectively lead change without understanding the landscape of change.
He said that Dalung’s reform has aided the development of sports from the grassroots as the democratic process he put in place had impacted every segment of sports in Nigeria.
“Retaining Dalung as sports minister should be seen as yet another opportunity to consolidate on the good work at the Ministry of Youths and Sports Development,’’ he said.