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We’ve Tried To Re-invent Wheel Of Youth, Sports Development In Nigeria, Says Sunday Dare On His First 6 Months In Office

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare has declared  that he could not score himself six months after assuming office, even as he remains focused on re-inventing the wheels of youth and sports development in the country inspite of the challenges.
Speaking  on his stewardship   in the last six months in office, Dare said:
“It would be totally wrong to score myself. You can’t score yourself in an examination. The score card should be done by relevant stakeholders who have been monitoring what we have done since assuming  office.
“But by and large, we have tried to re invent the wheel of Youth  and Sports Development, and restore confidence in the sector. We have changed the wrong perception about the Youth and Sports Development Ministry, and engaged with critical stakeholders, the athletes and those that are genuinely interested in supporting us to actualize our vision. We have succeeded  in convincing the athletes who are at the core of winning  honours that we mean well and their welfare remains our central  focus. We have refocused sports development  by dwelling on the core issues that matter.”
The Minister  maintains that athletes and their welfare  remain his top priority : “Without  the athletes winning laurels, sports wil be meaningless. So we have focused  on infrastructural  development, the discovery and  development   of athletes  and  their welfare. We have also insisted on doing things right to change the ecosystem in Youth and Sports and most  negative perceptions that we inherited  have changed. We met a lot of challenges, but when we look back in a year or two we believe  a lot would have changed for good.”
On the biggest challenge  since assuming office he said: “The Youth and Sports Development sector is not insulated from the challenges that characterise other ministries  and  sectors of the society. We inherited  a lot of challenges like projects that were started and abandoned, those that were completely  but made to rot away, youth  unemployment and a  sector that was completely neglected.
We  had to devise strategic  options of tackling  the problems.
“We came up with the Adopt-an -Athlete Initiative and Adopt-a-Stadium. We went into partnership  with committed  individuals, corporate bodies, state governments and  agencies  to support our athletes and address the infrastructural problems.  These are problems  that had always been there and we had to take proactive steps to tackle  them. This strategic move has achieved  a lot with states   like Edo, Delta, Lagos ,  Anambra adopting athletes.
“Unlike in the past, money meant for athletes  are paid directly into their accounts  without  anyone  taking anything.  This is to enable the athletes   train well for the Olympics before it was postponed. Good enough, we are constantly monitoring the athletes to know how they are faring.
“With the lockdown  and postponement  of all sporting  events, we are keeping tabs on the athletes  to ensure that they use the money well and also use private  indoor facilities to keep in shape.”
Speaking on infrastructure, the Minister said stadiums like the MKO Abiola Stadium, National Stadiums in Lagos and Ibadan are being given a face lift  by individuals, just  as the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna has been given a new look courtesy of the Kaduna State  Governor Malam Nasiru El Rufai.
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