The Youth and Sports Development Minister, Mr. Sunday Dare has been on the pages of newspaper and online media for days as a result of his acknowledged achievements which some set of people believed sis second to none. But on the flip side of the story the minister is said to be fake, hijacker of innovations without giving credit to whom is due which is the highest form of plagiarism.
The Minister’s emergence to many stakeholders was a happy one especially the Sports Writers Association, SWAN, an association responsible for the reportage of sporting activities across the country since they know that Mr. Dare was a practicing journalist and they expected that he would treat his constituency very well but little do they know that they just met their waterloo.
Dare smartly takes advantage of the division in the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) at the national level which also reflected on the FCT chapter of the association that covers the activities of the ministry. Unlike what it used to be where every sports journalist covers the ministry, the ministry has the list of who among the sports journalists that they always invite while others are left out.
This has led to many journalists receiving queries on several occasions while some have been relieved because of their inability to get first-hand information or stories from the ministry. Journalists are denied access if they are not invited to the ministry hence turning the ministry which is government property to his personal property.
Due to this action, the association has been divided and members are at logger-head and no longer in talking terms especially those that are seen or labeled as Dare’s or ministry’s journalists. And to add salt to insult, recently he abandoned the association members during a tour of the stadium when the FCT Minister, Bello Mohammed paid a working visit to his office. Also, journalists were denied access to cover the unveiling of signposts of the renaming of National Stadium Abuja after MKO Abiola on June 12, 2020.
The painful part was the book called National Sports Policy was launched recently and according to the Confederation of African Football, CAF Safety, and Security chairman, Christian Emeruwa said, a policy was put in place with about 80 stakeholders participating but there were no contributions from key stakeholders like the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN, the Supporters’ Club, the Secretaries of Federations, the Federation Chairmen, amongst others. “If these people mentioned are not contributors, then who are the so-called 80 stakeholders?” Emeruwa asked.
Meanwhile, before the demise of veteran journalist, Olajide Fashikun, he started a project called Nigeria Sports Development Fund, NSDF, which is for an athlete to be adopted by wealthy and great personalities across the world. His target was for athletes to be adopted and sponsored so as to start preparation in earnest for Olympics, this according to him is to help athletes win medals for Nigeria in the upcoming Olympics and other International Meets. Shortly after he launched the project in Ondo state, he fell ill and died. Before his death, he actually ran the project alongside Sunday Dare’s assistant, Mrs. Mary Onyali who incidentally is the present Special Adviser on Technical Matters to the minister.
There are allegations that the adopt-an-athlete which Mr. Sunday Dare is presently implementing is the project of late Fashikun.
However, there is nothing wrong in implementing somebody’s project especially when the person is no longer alive but courtesy demands that recognition be given to the initiator whether dead or alive rather than claim to be the brain behind the initiative.
And the worrisome aspect is that stipends were given to some ex-internationals’ parents or children and the person whose initiative he is implementing is not recognized probably because he died as a journalist. But we forgot so soon that Fashikun was an athlete before he became a journalist.
As if that was not enough, recently, another journalist, name withheld suggested to the minister that a Principal and Headmaster Cup been revived to catch the young ones at tender age so as to beat age cheat. He quickly swung into action and announced to the world without inviting the initiator to get additional information or even acknowledge him.
That is unfair and this will force people to keep their ideas to themselves and this is one of the reasons why many people died with their ideas because of people like the minister who don’t give recognition to initiators of ideas.
This is a big shame and those advising the minister. If the major stakeholders are not participants in a national policy, then that cannot be called a national policy. This is definitely not National Sports Policy but rather the Ministry of Sports Policy. With this action, it has shown that the sports ministry does not have direction.