A Sports analyst has charged the Former Youth and Sports Development Minister, Solomon Dalung to always get his facts right before coming on air to criticize his successor, Sunday Dare.
Dalung, in an interview on national television accused Dare of not building on the successes he (Dalung) recorded as Sports Minister. Dalung stated this lack of patriotic political will to consolidate on the gains on the ground led to what he called numerous disappointments at the Tokyo Olympics.
What successes is Barrister Dalung talking about? the analyst retorted. “Is it that of the crisis in some sports federations, especially in the AFN and NBBF that dogged the Sports Federations elections in 2017 when he was Sports Minister? Dare inherited the crises and had to, at some point, appeal to World Athletics and the Confederation of African Athletics to wade into the crisis in the AFN.
This appeal, the world and continental body for sports heeded and sent a two-man reconciliation team to Nigeria, joined via zoom by other officials from World Athletics. What was the outcome of the peace mission? Shehu Ibrahim Gusau, former President of the AFN and his Technical Director, Sunday Adeleye refused to sign the agreement reached with the 10 out of the 13 board members physically present at the meeting. Do you want to blame Dare for Gusau’s refusal to sign the agreement? The Sports Minister actually tried to clear the mess created by Dalung.
Dalung also talked about a not too impressive performance at the Tokyo Olympics and that Dare also failed to build on the successes he recorded at the Rio Games in 2016.
One wonders how Dalung has forgotten so soon that we won only one medal in Rio and we have won two in Tokyo. So, what success is he talking about? In case he has forgotten, we can refresh his memory that Tokyo 2020 is our best Olympics since 2008. We came back from London without a medal in 2012, and just one, five years ago in Rio.
In the just concluded Olympics, we won a medal in track and field event and got four athletes in the final. The last time we had more athletes in the final was 21 years ago at the Sydney Olympics. Since then, we had three in 2004, 2008 and 2012 while only two made the finals in Rio under Dalung as Sports Minister. Is that progress or retrogression? Your guess is as good as mine!
In Tokyo we also achieved feats we either have not accomplished before like making the final of the Shot Put event and winning a first ever medal in Wrestling or feats we last achieved several years ago like having a man in the 100m final for the first time in 25 years.
Dalung also spoke about Blessing Okagbare testing positive for human growth hormone and puts the blame on the doorstep of his successor. This clearly shows Bar Dalung’s very limited knowledge of the sports he superintended for over for four years. It is common knowledge that an athlete of over 18 years is responsible for whatever is found in his/her system and this is not the first time an athlete will be charged for anti-doping failure. It is disheartening that Bar Dalung has learnt little in four years albeit he came in as a greenhorn when he was named the Sports
In the case of the 10 athletes declared ineligible to compete at the Tokyo Games, Dalung should be educated that the AFN is solely responsible for the failure and has since owned up to it.
Perhaps he has, as usual, forgotten the unsavoury story of our U-23 football team at the Rio Olympics, the drama over the flight to the Games and how team captain, Mikel Obi took over the responsibility of both the Sports Ministry and the Nigeria Olympic Committee. If he has, we have not. Bar Dalung’s case is that of a man who lives in a glasshouse and wants to throw stones at perceived enemies.
A Sports Analyst with the epithet “Oracle” wrote from Lagos.