Dalung: A Minister And His Many Goofs

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Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung urged the corps members not to believe the “beer parlour gossips that the Federal Government was about to scrap the NYSC.”

Dalung: A Minister And His Many Goofs – Emmanuel Egobiambu

Those who live in glass in houses do not throw stones, but it appears that since assumption of office, Nigeria’s Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Solomon Dalung, has hauled mountains at Nigerian sports, especially football by his utterances.

At a recent event, the minister told an international media outlet, the BBC Hausa Service, that the country does not need to be in the world Cup, tagging it a waste of time and lean resources.

This piece was written by Emmanuel Egobiambu. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

Dalung who is a lawyer by training, by this, has again proved his critics who have been waiting to see another fault in him, right.

For a competition that is perhaps rivaled only by the Olympic games, our number one sports man, insists that it amounts to a sheer waste of time to be a part of this.

Having participated in the world cup five times and a averaging the 16th place as best performance, Dalung insists that the nation would be better off participating in other sporting events.

According to him, “That competition stinks of corruption; Nigeria is too poor to waste money on it”, and that Nigeria would never win the trophy. “The cup that we can win is the African Cup of Nations. There is nothing again that will take us to another man’s balcony in the name of the World Cup. We already have the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics. For these, we can attend such meets. But I am opposed to the World Cup. We don’t agree to it. Conspiracy in the World Cup is too much.”

Citing corruption as one reason why Nigeria should not be in the world cup even when the Super Eagles are comfortably leading their qualifying group, he said, “There is the issue of bribery and favouritism. There is also the issue of corruption before you are even given the hosting rights. We are here suffering from hunger and we don’t have money for such things.

“That is why, even if we try many times, once it gets into the politics of the game, we can never win. That was why this year, we had to tackle him (FIFA President, Ginani Infantino) and we said, ‘you, Infantino, if you win this election, you have to give us position. If not, we shall not agree.’

“And you see, by the grace of God, he even picked an African as his Secretary-General. That means he has started taking honey and rubbing on our lips. That means that one day, we shall get to really lick the honey.”

At the wake of Nigerian athletes outstanding performance at the Paralympics, the sports minister, speaking with Brila FM, infuriated sports lovers by saying that, “the disabled athletes have shown that all you need is a winning mentality and not too much preparation, they trained under the same condition with their able bodied counterparts but they are winning medals now.”

While fielding questions from newsmen about the Dream Team’s inability to fly out to Rio for the Olympic Games, he got many people furious when he referred to Nigeria as the ‘United States of Nigeria.’

He said, “Our U-23 team is suffering in the United States of Nigeria.”

And as the county’s U-23 football team was on a tour of the United States, seeking to replicate the success of the 1996 gold-medal-winning team, Dalung left many hanging when he said he was unaware of the team’s tour of the States. In his words, “The issue of our U- 23 National team suffering in the United States of America is news to me. In fact I am hearing it from you (the media) for the first time.”

Adding further salt to the injury, he questioned the team’s stay in Obama’s land, saying that they were not sent there. His words were: “They (Nigeria U23) didn’t tell us what they were there for and who took them there. It doesn’t mean that if somebody goes to the market and has problem then you will come and ask the ministry. The question is who took them there? And what are they there for?

“Because they are U23 national team, they went to the US and they are having problems, does that become our business? When they were traveling to the US, from your information, were you told that we were informed? Before you (the media) asked us to account for something you should know whether we are aware of it.”

Unconcerned about the threat to throw the Olympic Eagles out of their hostel in Atlanta, he said: “If they are throwing them out of the hotel then they should meet who took them there.

“They were supposed to be given a letter approving they are travelling from the minister’s office. Then if they ask me, I will tell you that I approved it and this is the reason.”

As criticism piled up against Solomon Dalung on the poor state of Nigeria’s Dream Team camp and players’ welfare, he was quoted in a press statement by the ministry of sports’ media assistant, Nneka Anibeze, as asking John Mikel Obi (who later denied it) to be in charge of the team as a form of punishment to their coach, Samson Siasia.

“There is no doubt that the ministry was not considered while plans were being made for the Olympic football team,” read the statement. Continuing, the release said: “Nevertheless, we shall intervene to remedy the situation. I have appealed to the captain to assume control of the team and restore sanity. For officials who decided to violate the code of their profession and take to media rampage(sic) to secure cheap blackmail, their conduct will definitely be measured with existing rules.”

This piece was written by Emmanuel Egobiambu. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.



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