Newly sworn-in Minister of Youth and Sports Sunday Dare says he “is not unaware of the challenges, controversies and development within” the ministry he oversees and vowed to ask the “difficult questions” and have the “crucial confrontations” needed to ensure he succeeds in carrying out the President’s mandate of “improving security, revitalising the economy and fighting against corruption.”
Dare, addressing the assembled media following his swearing-in by President Muhammadu Buhari earlier at the State house, Abuja said Nigeria’s youth “stand at the top of the country’s profile” and that “youth development” is central “to the success of any government”.
Acknowledging the efforts of the permanent secretary Olusade Olusola in overseeing the affairs of the ministry in the absence of a substantive minister, Dare vowed to delve straight into business, after receiving briefings from directors in the ministry, declaring that “work starts now”.
Dare takes over a ministry that has been mired in controversies and needless bickering between his predecessor Solomon Dalung and a myriad of sports federations especially the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
In what is an indication that he plans to take a very different approach from Dalung, the former executive commissioner (Stakeholder Management) of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) promised to think “outside the box” and work towards “taking sports out of the back pages to the front pages with positive news” adding that achieving a new direction “is possible”.
With a background in media spanning nearly thirty years during which he worked with the Voice of America (VOA), The News and Tempo magazine amongst others, Oyo State born Dare is very familiar with the working of the press and promised to “rely heavily” on the media who he said are “an integral part of youth and sports development”.
And in news sure to gladden the hearts of stakeholders who have long demanded better funding and government support for sports other than football, the newly appointed minister declared that “beyond soccer, we have other sports”, indicating a refreshing approach to how the government views non-football sports.
Exhibiting the sort of big-picture thinking that has eluded his predecessors, the minister who stressed that his ministry encompasses areas distinct from sport, promised to explore “inter-ministerial collaborations” which he says would enable the pulling of resources towards achieving shared goals.
Dare said he will now focus towards ensuring that the ministry meets the September deadline for submitting their 2020 budget to the Budget Office.