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SUNDAY DARE: Daring to make a difference

SUNDAY DARE: Daring to make a difference

4 October, 2020

Time moves so fast  and it seemed  like yesterday when  President  Muhammadu  Buhari  appointed  Mr. Sunday  Akin  Dare  as Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development but he has  tons of achievements just one year in office.

Since assuming the reins, Dare has moved with the speed of light  by changing the dynamics of the Ministry that is often perceived as not only poorly funded, but problematic. He   renewed  vigour  and  desire  to  succeed  where  others  had  failed, innovation and urgency where others had stagnated and has changed so many wrong perceptions about Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.

Dare  hit  the  ground  running  by  dusting  up  his  rich  contact-base  to  begin  the processes of restoring the confidence of the private sector with a Public Private Partnership  (PPP)  to  bring  about  a  revival  of  the  moribund  youth  and  ports sector.

Despite all the hiccups, the last one year has seen fundamental changes in the youth and sports development sectors.

The  Adopt  Campaign  has  received  widespread  public  commendation  with  a well-designed  programme; while   the  objectives  of  restoring, re-invigorating  and restoring sporting infrastructure to their lost glory is well saluted generality  of  Nigerians.

For  the  first  time ever,  athletes  are  being  adopted  by  individuals,  corporate  bodies  and  state governments by providing them with direct funding for the Olympics. The  innovative initiative  would  ensure  podium  performances  by  our  athletes.

The Adopt-a-Pitch initiative has seen to the near completion of the Daura Township Stadium through the support of Chief Adebutu Kesington. Work has  commenced on the football pitch of  the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja through the support  of  Alhaji  Aliko  Dangote, and the  Ahmadu  Bello    Stadium,  Kaduna  will  be wearing a new look courtesy of  the  intervention by the  Kaduna State Governor  Malam Nasir El-Rufai.

A task force has begun work at the National Stadium, Surulere, in a bid to return the stadium back to its original masterplan ahead of the concession process. In addition, the minister has secured assurances from a  philanthropist  to rehabilitate some facilities at the stadium. The Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, Ibadan is set for a facelift as well.

Perhaps, the greatest impact is the repositioning of sports from mere recreation to business.  This  would  open  limitless  opportunities  in  Public  Private  Partnership, infrastructural  development,  merchandising,  sponsorship,  television  rights, marketing, branding, content and ultimately better welfare for the athletes.

In  the  last  one  year,  Dare  has  restored  confidence  into  the  sector  with  the midwifing of the Sports Industry Policy which would bring fundamental changes in the sports sector while giving impetus to the welfare of athletes.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, he distributed welfare packages to athletes and youth, assisted the mothers of late players like Rashidi Yekini, Samuel Okwaraji, Ali Jeje, and quarter miler  Sunday Bada.

He  had  earlier  paid  for  the  surgery  of  female  basketball  player  Nkem Akaraiwe,  and picked  part  of  the  hospital  bill  of  former  Green  Eagles  player  Kadiri Ikhana who went through surgery for backpain.

He also extended the same gesture to ailing former Super Eagles defender Sunday Eboigbe and boxer Jerry Okorodudu. He paid for the mouth surgery of table tennis legend Funke Oshonaike and supported young boxing sensations Sekinat and   Sultan Adekoya under the Adopt-an-Athlete initiative.

Dare  has  also  made  giant  strides  with  the  resuscitation  of  the  Principal’s  Cup, Headmaster’s Cup, and the introduction of the Unity Cup.

The otherwise forgotten long distance races in Pankshin and Mambila Plateau are set for revival and with it, hope for a resurgence in Nigeria’s performance in this event.

The revival of the Hall of Fame will not only create an enduring legacy but  inspire  the  younger  generation  to  emulate  past  sporting  heroes. The establishment of the Outdoor Hall of Fame is not only symbolic, but an enduring legacy to immortalize Nigeria’s sporting legends.

The berthing of the Sports Industry Policy would bring fundamental changes to the  sports  development  in  Nigeria  with  its  attendant  impact  on  the  national economy.

The post SUNDAY DARE: Daring to make a difference appeared first on Smart9jaMedia.

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