Minister Dare and the politics of the Olympic Games
BY ABIODUN ADENIYI
Minister Sunday Dare has been in the eye of the storm lately, obviously for the Olympics. Following an illustrious career as a journalist, he took on positions as minister, media entrepreneur, broadcaster, author, PR manager and public administrator. These professions are service-oriented genres, sometimes immaterial, but certainly productive in smoothing out social processes and operations. They are often empowering enough to improve management skills, offer multifaceted perspectives, and a knowledge of social nuances good enough to be a role model.
Dare went on with that in mind, adding a dazzling language, panache, and openness that were first tested in the EndSARS protests in October 2020, where he was to be the indictment as minister of youth. He largely took responsibility and made his contribution until the new kinds of protests simply fizzled out; or maybe until another day. A second attention was given to him at the just ended Olympic Games, where he was again responsible for a normally turbulent, often burning course for the different minds of the partisans, the hope that the ministry represents, and the right focus on young people as people of the Future. How do we contextualize the darts to him, during the games and now after? How did he fare at the Olympics?
One critic who particularly caught my attention was his immediate predecessor, Mr. Solomon Selcap Dalung. He was furious that the minister disbanded the associations before the games and that the preparations did not involve any responsibilities. He volunteered in live television interviews, which ended up being intrusive and posted multiple times. However, I wish that this former pastor, who once “spent” very well all the money given to the ministry, had learned something about grace and charity. I wish he’d heard from Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, a learned scholar, first-class diplomat, and former foreign minister who could easily pass for Nigeria’s Henry Kissinger, Warren Christopher, or Madeleine Albright for his ministry services – he was only responsible for about two years .
Although Akinyemi is retired, he has been a keen observer of global events, which is in keeping with his calling as Professor Emeritus of International Relations. With this in mind, he is considered an authority on global affairs and could also be a first-class advisor to future foreign ministers and governments. With his expanded understanding, he could similarly tear apart some political directions when it comes to his depth and pervasive appreciation of transnational events. He could do more too, including the derogatory think tanks that came after him to prove that his expertise is unsurpassed. However, Akinyemi is urban, epistemic, and charitable. Not once has he been asked to comment on the achievements of his successors. At every opportunity, if at all, he was careful to respond to the questioners, arguing that he had done his part and that his successors had their duty. The scrutiny of their activities could therefore be petty, primitive, and uncultivated. And even if such checks are very necessary, he prefers to let others do it for him. This is Prof.
Dalung is not a professor anyway and is not allowed to appear professorial, but roughly speaking there are three ways to learn. On the one hand through formal education. Second, personal experiences and there the experiences of others. One of these avenues should have helped Dalung realize that a public attack on his successor in office is not only infantile, but ridiculous, marginal and inconsiderate. And what’s more? Dalung is said to be in the same political party as his predecessor. He and Minister Dare, his successor, believe in the mindset of President Muhammadu Buhari. Even if that doesn’t make him avoid a public argument with the ministry, how about assuming he’s still bitter about being removed from the cabinet? And should his bitterness be directed against a man who, despite his high hopes of return, knows nothing about why he was released? Ministerial offices are highly respected positions in which past and present holders are meant to be exceptional, be it in their public or private lives. Our man, Dalung, dropped the ball here. He was just loveless, rude and rude. It should never be a template.
How did Dare perform in the Olympics? Since he has only been in office for about two years, should he take the blame for the failures of some previous leaders like Dalung? Public records show that Nigeria won a bronze medal in the long jump 25 years after Chioma Ajunwa won gold in Atlanta in 1996, and that Nigeria won a silver medal in wrestling, the first ever Olympic medal in the history of the sport aside from a der 21-year-old Enoch Adegoke, who became only the third Nigerian to reach the men’s 100m final. There’s also the record held by Nigeria, which bagged two medals, one silver and one bronze, placing them 74th out of two hundred and five countries in the Tokyo Olympics and eighth in Africa, alongside Nigerian Olympians who took part in the Olympic Games reached record finals. How about if the Nigerian Olympians set several new personal bests in athletics or reach the final in the shot put for the first time in their history and a bronze compared to the Olympic Games in London 2012 without a medal and the Olympic Games in Rio 2016 do better? Medal?
Are these investigated or should we assume that politics is just happening? It was of course worrying to see an athlete who would rather wash his jersey by hand than use the washing machine when it comes to the sensational effect, but also beneficial to read from the other side. Check: “First, there are two (2) categories of jerseys or sports equipment for Team Nigeria: general clothing and competition clothing. The Ministry is responsible for the general clothing category. Equipping Team Nigeria for various national, continental and international sporting events has always been the responsibility of the ministry and this was no different at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. For the records, Team Nigeria was properly equipped for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with the ministry purchasing a 9-piece bag of jerseys for each of our athletes and officials. The second category of kits is the Competition Wears. This category is the specific competition equipment that is specific to each sport and is provided by the individual sports associations. “
We have also been told that the ministry is providing financial support to each sports association as needed and it is the responsibility of each national sports association to provide these competitive apparel to their team athletes and officials for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Each of the sports federations bought the competition clothing for their respective teams based on their specific needs. AFN directly received enough custom clothing from AFA Sports for their athletes at the Games, while the ministry used the federal government’s local content policy to look inward to hire an indigenous company, AFA Sports, to make the general jerseys.
It was just as interesting to hear the minister about the controversial Puma deal. Hear him: “We are optimistic. Many people don’t know the truth. It was expected that Puma would terminate this contract. Why not? The jerseys provided by Puma are the subject of legal disputes. But people will soon know the truth. Those who bought the kits run from pillar to post and medium to medium to tarnish my name and make me look like the bad guy. Are you really interested in the progress of Team Nigeria? Or are you afraid of what will happen if this massive fraud case is exposed? I have no regrets at all. Yes, the Puma jerseys were available before we chose our Made in Nigeria jerseys, which are just as beautiful and durable and also good for our economy.
“The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, revealed the kits, so do you think he would be part of this process if the kits weren’t good? It is well known that former AFN President, engineer Ibrahim Shehu Gusau, and his fellow travelers are desperately trying to break free of a controversial contract he signed with AFN, which now puts him in the position of Team Nigeria to blackmail carry the kits. Ibrahim Gusau conveniently neglected to tell Nigerians that he and Sunday Adeleye have signed a non-disclosure agreement with PUMA, the details of which are unknown to the AFN ministry and board members. No one is going to blackmail Team Nigeria into wearing these jerseys, they can stir up as much dust as they want, but the dust will eventually settle and then they will dance to the music. “
After all, the issues could not just be sport, but politics. Dare was salutary for the latter. For the former, time will tell.
Adeniyi, a professor and public affairs analyst, sent this article from Abuja.