Minister of Youth and Sports Development. Mr. Sunday Dare
By Sylvanus Ofekun
The appointment of Mr. Sunday Dare as the Minister of Youth and Sports Development by President Muhammadu Buhari.late last year was viewed by many as a step in the right direction.
The ovation was as a result of the disastrous performance of his predecessor (a performance that led Nigeria to finish second in the overall medal table at the All African Games held in Morocco), a man who was well known by his odd dressing (red beret and khaki)
Dare’s triumphant entry into the nation’s sports sector, as a result, Nigeria feat in Morocco was soon vaporized by his poor administrative acumen in handling crisis in the largest sports federation in the country, the AFN Athletics Federation of Nigeria).
The minister’s myopic sense of judgment in quenching burning issues when the athletes were in Doha for the World Athletics Championship was questionable, as he was quick to jump to his, Twitter handles to announce that he has ordered the recall of the Federation’s Technical Director, Mr.Sunday Adeleye.
The minister skipped administrative protocols, all in the name to grab the headlines without recourse to the Ministry’s director of the Elites Athletes Department for a proper briefing of what the issues were.
Despite unsettling the camp in Doha by his action and poor handling of dispute resolution, the Minister was quick to set up a committee to probe the poor performance of team Nigeria even when the country actually won a bronze medal at the world championship, a feat Nigeria last achieved in 2012.
The committee comprised of oppositions who were unhappy with the leadership of the federation finished their job within a week without single blame on the ministry for the late release of funds which hindered the team’s inability to prepare adequately for the championship. The minister was quick to announce the sacking of Mr. Sunday Adeleye as the Technical Director of the AFN.
Being a Journalist armed with the constitution of the AFN, I knew that the sports minister lacks the power to sack the federation’s Technical Director.
The taciturn president of the AFN, Hon.Engr.Ibrahim Shehu Gusau who knows his onus waved the minister’s directive aside and continued with his constitutional duties of piloting the federation.
Mr.Dare who was determined in causing more crisis in the federation, arranged for a kangaroo board meeting presided over by his kinsman, Hon. Olumide George to suspend the AFN President, Hon Gusau.
This action led to factions in the federation with suspensions and counter suspensions. Although, the Gusau led faction approached a federal high court in Abuja for proper interpretation of the binding rules of the federation.
Then came the big ruling by Justice A.I Chikere of the Federal High Court Abuja on July 2, 2020. The judgment was explicit, stating that it is only the elective congress of the federation that can sack or suspend the president, adding that the suspension of Hon. Ibrahim Shehu Gasau was null and void.
Justice Chikere also held that it is only the president that can appoint or sack the Technical Director of the federation, with the judgment specifically stating that Mr.Sunday Adeleye remains the authentic TD of the federation.
In a swift reaction to the judgment, the Director Legal Services of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Danjuma Muhammad played down the judgment of Justices A.I Chikere saying that the judgment is a declaratory judgment in which the rights of both parties were spelled out. He insisted that the ministry will appeal the judgment.
Appeal the judgment? So Dare came to sports to purse and drag persons who are against his view to court. So an impoverished ministry is now so rich and ready to drag stakeholders to court. Why is Dare so interested in bringing down the country’s largest federation? What happened to the various allegations against the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)? Why is the Minister’s silence so loud concerning the numerous allegations against some powerful individuals in our sports?
The Olumide led faction recognized by the sports ministry cannot relate with the continental and world bodies unlike the Gasau faction that relates with both bodies but unrecognized by the sports ministry.
The minister wanted to be the don Clericuzio in sports by appointing those who run the various federations as he tried with Para powerlifting by ensuring that the president Queen Oboh was fired.
The Minister should state his vision and purpose for sports with a well-defined timeline as well as purpose-driven goals because his Oyo ambition has become an open secret.
Dare should know that his predecessor has challenged him with his records and achievements obtained during his tenure as the man in charge of sports.