2021 PUBLICATION HON. CHIEF SUNDAY AKIN DARE: THE MILESTONES OF A SPORTS MINISTER BY PROF EMMANUEL OJEME
Hon Chief Sunday Dare, the Agba Akin of Ogbomosho is an indigene of Oyo
State and the Minster of Youth and Sports in President Muhammadu Buhari’s
Second term cabinet. Since he became Minister of Youth and Sports, the 55
year old energetic and vibrant officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has
recorded good deeds worth talking about, as the giant strides in his ministerial
portfolio. The purpose of this brief article is to undertake a profiling of some of
the Minister’s achievements in the landscape of sports in Nigeria particularly as
the administration he serves is half-way in its tenure. It is pertinent also, on
behalf of this writer and followership, however, to wish the Hon. Minster of
Youth and Sports who turned 55 years on May 29th 2021, a happy birthday
celebrations and many more years of fruitful services and celebrations.
Chief Sunday Dare has verve and eloquence and also he is one of the
most energetic and enthusiastic Sports Ministers Nigeria has had. He is a hands on Sports Officer. Since he took on the responsibility of leadership as Sports
Minster, he has been known to do some commendable things. The following are note worthy.
(1) Adopt an Athlete Initiative
This strategy of sports development which is athlete-centered is aimed at
bringing men and women of means to assist the athletes to actualize their
goals in terms of education, scholarship, athletic training and
It is on record that many Nigerians of means are already giving a helping
hand to the athletes. The significance of this complimentary athlete
development strategy can be very far reaching. He has also declared to
adopt some gymnasts who will be representing Nigeria in the Tokyo 2020
Olympic Games. Just as the Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi
Okowa has also adopted seven athletes for sponsorship to the Tokyo
Olympic Games, as well.
It should be pointed out also that this policy has extended to private
sector adoption of Sports facilities for renovation.
2. Initiation of a New Sports Development Policy
This Sports Minster has championed the fashioning of a new Sports
Industry Policy. Although the Policy received very turbulent reactions
because of it’s over arching orientation of Sports as an enterprise, It certainly will bring about a new era of Sports development in Nigeria
given the wide-ranging stakeholders participation in the making of the
policy and so long as the policy will be effectively implemented, it is
bound to make impact in the development of Sports in Nigeria.
3. A Surge in the Visibility of Nigerian Athletes in Competitions:
The Sports Minster has re-energized the involvement of Nigerian athletes
in competitions at all levels. The Minister has revived the old Principals
Cup and national School Sports Competitions. These are commendable
and with expected needed reforms in the organization and management
of the Games, the future remains very bright.
4. Providing Succour to Retired Athletes and Families
The Hon. Minster does not only motivate performing athletes to excel, he
also provides succour for retired athletes and families. Notable are (1) the
intervention in the case of Khadiri Ikhana with respect to payment of
hospital bills (2) succour to the family of Late Super Eagles Player, Mr.
Samuel Okwaraji by donating cash and foodstuffs to the aged parents.
These and many more unreported philanthropic gestures of the Hon.
Minister are commendable.
5. Successful Hosting of Edo 2020 National Sports Festival (NSF)
The much troubled Edo 2020 NSF was successfully staged and it is a
credit to his Ministry and leadership as well as the Edo State government. The
actualization of Edo 2020 NSF has provided great impetus to Nigeria’s overall
Sports development strategic plan and participation in Tokyo 2020 Olympic
Games. It has also triggered the need for urgent reforms to improve its
There is no doubt that Hon. Chief Akin Sunday Dare, an acknowledged and
accomplished professional journalist, who would have also octanely excelled as a Minister of Information, an area where he has deep knowledge and training, has done very well in his portfolio as Sports Minister.
What else can the Hon. Minster do to further entrench his name in the golden
books of Nigeria’s Sports history?
I wish to plead with the Minster to endeavour to vigorously pursue the
reinstatement of the National Sports Commission as the Central agency of
Government in Sports Services delivery.
This organizational agency will transform Nigerian Sports by institutionalization
of professionalism in Nigerian Sports development. If you add this agency to the approval and adoption of a National Sports Development Policy, your name
and Ministerial role will be ever shining in Nigeria’s Sports history literature long
after you have left office. The Hon. Minister of Youths and Sports has achieved
other milestones in Youth and Sports development not covered by this
narration. This presentation serves as a bird’s eye view of his highlights.
Considering the fact that much of his tenure in the last two years has been hit
hard by the global Covid-19 pandemic, there is no doubt that this Minister is
living up to expectations in his works. Hoping that as he marches to the last
half of this administration, much more milestones would be recorded in his