By Goodluck Ikiebe
Stakeholders in the Sports industry have hosted the immediate past Sports and Youth Minister, Mr Sunday Dare in a reception in recognition of his successful stewardship as the Minister of Sports and Youth Development during the previous administration.
Speaking on the occasion held in Abuja on Thursday, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar stated that the reception was privately put together by stakeholders in the sports industry to appreciate Mr Dare
for all the innovations he initiated that led to the transformation of the sports sector within the four years he spent in the Ministry.
He added that the reception was tagged “Celebration of Excellence” and is “the latest on the list of worthy recognitions Dare has enjoyed following what many have unarguably described as a successful and accomplished tenure as Sports and Youth Minister.”
The Permanent Secretary noted that within the period he served as Minister, the country was able to record about 254 Medals in addition to the various policy initiatives put in place to further drive the sector in line with global best practices.
Alhaji Ismaila reiterated the need for stakeholders in the industry to come out enmass and support the various policy initiatives of the Federal Government, not only for the betterment of the teeming youths but also for the socio-economic development of the country.
He assured that the Ministry will continue to create an enabling environment for the successful implementation of the policies, programmes and projects of the Federal Government in line with the Policy thrust of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led Administration.
former Nigerian International Footballer, Chief Segun Odegbami, described Dare as a National Asset that deserves all the accolades he is getting, adding that this is the first time in all his years in the Sports arena that a Minister who left office is still being celebrated.
“By virtue of my position, I have worked closely with many past Sports Ministers so I know how difficult it is to survive as a Sports Minister in Nigeria but Dare proved everyone wrong with his style of leadership that resulted into many achievements”, he noted.
Odegbami added, “I am particularly looking forward to the next assignment Dare will undertake because his wealth of experience and quality will be very valuable to the present government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu”.
Earlier in his presentation at the event, a stakeholder in the Netball Industry, Dr Henry Nzekwu, stated that the former Minister confronted the age-long challenges in the sector by taking bold steps and with the support of the former administration recorded unequalled podium performances in the country through its athletes in global sports in recent times.
While describing Dare as the most decorated Minister of Sports and Youth Development, he added that Nigeria is appreciative of his giant strides in sports , which has always been a very challenging sector
Responding, the former Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mr Sunday Dare, thanked all the stakeholders in the sports industry for their support and understanding and former President, Muhammadu Buhari, in particular for the opportunity to serve in that capacity.
“We would not have achieved what we did without the support of the majority of the stakeholders, from the office of Mr President, the National Assembly, the Nigeria Olympic Committee ( NOC), the Sports Ministry itself and the various Sporting Federations”, he explained.
Dignitaries at the ceremony include the President, Nigeria Olympic Committee, Engr. Habu Gumel, Chairman, Senate Committee on Sports Senator Obinna Ogba, General Secretary, Nigeria Football Federation, Dr Muhammad Sanusi, Chairman, Interim Management Committee, Nigeria Premier League, Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye, Special Assistant to Former President Muhammadu Buhari on Sports, Daniel Amokachi, Chief of Staff to the former Minister, Alhaji Abba Yola as well as a cross section of the media, among others.