By Gabriel Ewepu and Ezra Ukanwa
ABUJA- YOUTH under the auspices of One Nigeria Youths, ONY, yesterday, hailed the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, for his performance and success in the sports sector after four years of appointment.
The commendation was made by the National Coordinator, ONY, Magnus Oku, in a statement, while appraising the impact the Dalung led administration has made in four years.
According to Oku, the Minister has been able to “democratize” and unlock the sector for wide participation with little government interference, whereby giving all stakeholders a sense of belonging including Nigerians at home and in Diaspora, which had transformed into bundles of laurels and individual honour to sportsmen and women in the country following equal opportunity given to them.
He further stated that in 2018 under Dalung Nigeria emerged overall champions at the 5th African Wrestling Championship, which the country hosted in Port Harcourt Nigeria from February 7-11, 2018, which Nigeria came first in major category of the championship with 90 Gold medals.
The group also canvassed for reappointment of Dalung as Minister of Youth and Sports by President Muhammadu Buhari following his achievements and impacts made to revolutionise the Nigerian sports sector in the next four years as a way of consolidating on his achievement in the spirit of sustainability in the sector.
He said: “For the first time Nigeria participated in Olympic Winter Games, held on February 9-15, 2018, 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 medal.
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“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 etc.”
The group in its assertion said that “In recent time, the present form of the sports federation and the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, has enhanced our relationship with the world football governing body, FIFA to the point that the organization decided to hold an Executive Football Summits (EFS) in February 2018.
“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. The major achievements recorded in sports to the democratization into the boards of national sports federations are thus numerous.”
Meanwhile, according to the group crisis that rocked the NFF following the tussle between Amaju Pinnick and Chris Giwa, which led to fierce legal battle was borne out of “arrogance and pride” said the Minister never imposed Giwa nor anybody of other sports federation on Nigerians.
“On the issue of NFF power tussle, it is worthy of note that Dalung never imposed Chris Giwa nor anyone else in any of the sports federations on Nigerians. The case of Amaju Pinnick and Chris Giwa is simply as a result of the pride and arrogance of the former seeing himself as FIFA’s anointed one for NFF refused to hearken to the Ministers call for a peaceful resolution but insisted that the matter should be settled in court and afterwards never accepted the court injunction.
“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.”