The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, has explained how he addressed the challenge of Nigerian’s poor performance in international sports tournaments.
Addressing delegates to the Nigerian Sports Summit 2017 on Tuesday in Abuja, the Minister said he identified the governance structure of many sports federations as the one of the major factors responsible for the country’s poor performance in international competitions.
“When I came in as Minister, one of the challenges we identified as responsible for the poor performance of Nigeria in sports competitions was the governance structure of our sports federations.
“Realising that, I decided to embark on reforms in our sports. These reforms took us to conducting fresh elections within the federations which brought up democratically elected leaders.
“Today there is no single week that a story in the ministry is not that of harvest of medals and trophies,” he said.
Dalung also said that he also made a commitment to giving equal attention to the development of all sports and not just a few; stressing that he believed “all sports must grow together and equally.”
The minister further told the delegates that he perceived sports as no longer being entertainment alone but business opportunities also which had the potentials of improving the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“As an apostle of sports, I am convinced all sports must grow together and equally. I therefore assure Nigerians and sports stakeholders that present administration is going to give preference to all the development of all sports and just a few.
“Permit me to throw my weight behind the argument that sports are a very wealthy course that can turn around the fortunes of young men and women thereby improving the country’s GDP.
“Sports today are driven world over by the private sector and it is recognized as the second largest employer of labour,” he said.
The Minister added that it was in recognition of the business potentials of sports that the ministry partnered with a private firm, The Spring Vision International Koncept Ltd, to organise this year’s sports summit.
He said the summit, as a Public-Private Partnership Initiative in Sports (PPPIS), would focus on sports investing, resource mobilization, and infrastructural development in sports.