By Ike A. Offor
If one says that it is simply absurd, that is plainly an understatement and being conservative with the truth, how our sports men and women are treated under this administration. The attitude of the current Sports Minister towards sport is totally unacceptable.
He lied to the country in various occasions and made no effort or be responsible enough to render an apology to the country about his consistent lies and the poor manner he has been handling sports in Nigeria since he took over as the sport minister.
Some of the ills and blatant lies told by Mr Damung are numerous to recount, but after few checks few of them will be brought forth.
Just few weeks before the commencement of the Rio Olympics the social media was inundated with letter of appeal from Nigerian athletes requesting for financial help to fund their trips to Brazil. Mr Solomon Dalung denied that the fact that any Nigerian athlete has any problem flying to the Rio De Janeiro.
We believed him until the disturbing stories of our U-23 football dream team who were stranded in Atlanta came up, our fears and rumours were confirmed. While such national disgrace were ongoing, Mr Dalung again went on air and made the worse statement ever made by someone given the responsibility as a sports minister. In his own words he said with anger ” if our football team or boys went to Atlanta and were unable to find their way to Rio De Janeiro is that his problem, why is that our problem?”. What was he thinking?
One would think that he was under the influence of something strong when he made such statement. One could wonder what is actually the responsibility of the sports minister, if not one of these? Delta Airline of USA had to rescue the situation by flying our boys to Rio just few hours before their opening match. How those boys managed to win the match was a miracle.
As the boys were in Rio there came the rumours of non-payment of hotel bills, which was again refuted by Mr Dalung, who claimed that the permanent secretary cleared the bills when the hotel management knocked on his door concerning the bills. Again, why would he wait to be served with summons or quit notice or refusal to leave the hotel before they could pay via a permanent secretary?
Later on, it was confirmed by Mikel Obi that he did pay for the bills and not by the permanent secretary as claimed by the the sports minister. This was also confirmed by other members of the dream team.
One would ask what was going on with Mr Solomon Dalung that prompted him to tell consistently lies against his own people he was supposed to take care of? It came to the point that Nigerian athletes actually asked Mr Solomon Dalung to steer clear of them, a strong expression of dislike from his own children he was supposed to take care of.
This and many other things made one wonder what is such a man doing being a sports minister or anywhere close to government appointment. He lacked sense of responsibility and told several lies against his own ministry in issues he could simply come out clean and be honest.
The athletes in the video above narrated their ordeal of starvation for days before arriving for a sport event. How could they survive on the track if they were starved for days? No wonder they performed abysmally woeful in their respective events.
The Nigerian-American girl Miss Chierika Ukogu and Mr Femi Akinyemi who represented Nigeria both in Rowing and Kayak, trained and sponsored themselves to the Olympics. That is sheer patriotism while our own sports minister, who they are supposed to take a cue from acted in the most unpatriotic manner to his country. That is indeed a shame. Any day you wonder why Nigerians are unpartiotic, you have just found the answers here.