How Sunday Dare Is Transforming Nigeria Sports With Meagre 2.7 Billion Annual Budget
By Adewale Ajayi
The saying that to whom much is given, much is expected is quite true but what is arguable is what should be expected from him to whom little is given.
Nigeria minister of youth and sports development Sunday Dare has emerged as the third best minister after just one year in office with his ministry receiving what is regarded as the least annual budgetary allocation from the federal government.
Mr Dare was appointed sports minister on 21 August, 2019, and he has defied the odds to excel where his predecessors failed by shunning out brilliant initiatives and maintaining a steady profile during the last twelve months as Nigeria minister of Youth and Sports development.
The Oyo state born politician arrived the scene with little knowledge of sports but has managed to keep his head above water with some outstanding performances that have left stakeholders shocked at his brilliant foresight and immense achievements in just a short time in office.
In an interim scorecard released by the transparency watch, Dare came third behind Nigeria minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development Saddiya Farouq and minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi.
Both finished first and second ahead of Dare whose yearly budget as sports minister is put at just 2.7 billion naira
Among these three, the ministry of transportation gets 560 billion naira as yearly budgetary allocation while the ministry of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development is on 420 billion naira budgetary allocation yearly.
Despite the low budget, Sunday Dare has remained undeterred as he has continued to weather the storm through support from private and corporate sectors.
For the first time in a long while, the ministry is happy to see a minister that is paying equal attention to youth and sports development.
Sunday Dare has come up with various youth policies that has seriously impacted on the lives of the Nigerian youths. No wonder, president Mohammadu Buhari wasted no time in approving the 75 billion naira worth Nigeria youth investment fund, an initiative aimed at empowering Nigerian youths to put their brains and energy at work instead of waiting for white collar jobs.
That singular feet, has catapulted Dare to the very top of the list of achievers under the present APC government of president Mohammadu Buhari.
Humble and always easy going, Sunday Dare is not cut out for controversies. He has cleverly managed the many crisis in football, basketball and athletics federation, without soiling his hands.
He has maintained a calm head in the middle of the storm as his actions most times speak louder than his voice.
A man with the midas touch, Dare has gone out of his way to seek private sector support in the refurbishment of all the abandoned National stadia in Nigeria. The National stadium in Surulere Lagos and the MKO Abiola international stadium in Abuja are top priorities as he works towards making good his promise of reviving Nigeria sporting facilities.
The labour of our heroes past shall not be in vain is a popular line in the Nigeria National Anthem, but for Sunday Dare, he is actively looking out for Nigeria heroes past and present. He started his humaniterian and compassionate campaign by first impacting on the lives of the mothers of late Nigerian footballers like Samuel Okwaraji and Rashidi Yekini among other beneficiaries.
Nigerian sports men and women have not stopped singing his praises since the introduction of the Adopt an Athlete initiative, which has seen several wealthy individuals, private and corporate sponsors invest their monies in the careers of athletes with huge potentials to win medals for Nigeria at international events.
Nigeria youth corpers are also singing the praise of Sunday Dare. His emergence as sports minister came with an agitation that led to an increase from 18,000 to 33,000 naira monthly allowance for youth Corp members nationwide.
Sunday Dare will go down in history as the only Nigeria minister of youth and sports that has matched his many promises with actions blessed with results. For every promises made, there is always going to be an action that will ultimately lead to a result.
Now the stakeholders are saying, if in only 12 months he has left us salivating with excitement, what will happen after four years as the Nigeria sports ministry is now looking too good than ever imagined.
No wonder one stakeholder, a social media activist and a diehard supporter of Sunday Dare, Abbass Ibrahim, once said and I quote.
“Congratulations to our amiable Hon. Minister Sunday Akin Dare, your entry to the sports ministry is a reflection of the shining light that subdued many years of darkness. May Almighty God keep and protect you to do many more good things for the ministry”.