Dalung: Playing The Ostrich In Nigerian Sports | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Dalung: Playing The Ostrich In Nigerian Sports

Posted: Aug 26, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Barrister Solomon Dalung, the minister of sports, has severally courted controversy since assuming office as the nation’s number one sports personality. Since his appointment, the minister has put up attitude suggesting that he was yet to come to terms with the demands of his office.

It will be recalled that Dalung, few months after assuming office, feigned ignorance of the leadership tussle between Amaju Pinnick, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF ) president, and Chris Giwa but summoned, what stakeholders called ”unnecessary peace meeting” which resulted in the two parties throwing caution to the wind and openly abusing themselves and other delegates present.

However, Dalung would be put to test as the preparations for the Rio Olympic Games began. First, he superintended the sports ministry that failed to prepare the athletes for the Games, and later denied knowledge of the nation’s U-23 team’s training tour of the United States, abandoning them in the process. He said: “I am just hearing the news of their suffering and threat to throw them out of their hotel in US. We don’t know who took them there and what their mission there is. “How does it become our problem if the team traveled without our knowledge …?

But it is unthinkable to believe that the sports minister would not be aware of the team’s travel to the United States. It is either he was living in denial or does not understand his responsibility. There was a huge outcry. The captain, John Mikel Obi, later came to the team’s rescue and provided financial succour to the players. Dalung tagged the outcry propaganda aimed at smearing his name. Was he merely playing the ostrich over the conditions of the players or he truly never knew that the players must be quartered, fed and motivated in the course of their training for the Olympic Games?

Even if the minister was not in the know regarding the team’s training tour of Atlanta Gerogia, USA, he should have commended the efforts of those who made it possible instead of liking the action as child trafficking, as widely reported in the media. If Dalung will say he never knew that his overall responsibility was and still is to provide the enabling environment for Nigerian sports men and women to excel and ensure a blueprint for the growth of sports in the country, then he might be truly living in denial.

It is high time Dalung started realising that he was appointed to advance sports in Nigeria.