By Patrick Omorodion
God created the whole world in six days and on the seventh day, He took time to rest. And may be also used the opportunity to evaluate the work that He did.
So if God can rest, who are we his creations and mere mortals? That is why after about a year of hard work, especially navigating the tortuous Lagos roads jampacked by trailers and tankers, yours truly had to take my annual leave to rest my nerves and bones.
And I am happy to be back on the beat. A best that is replete with news, both bad and good news. Sports is a very interesting beat worldwide but in Nigeria, it has taken a ridiculous trend, especially with the man President Muhamadu Buhari, appointed to help supervise the sector, Solomon Dalung actimg very strangely.
Dalung has turned the proverbial tail wagging the dog on the lingering leadership tussle in the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF. While the government through the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who was acting in the absence of President Buhari sought to end the crisis in the NFF and avoid the imminent ban from FIFA, Dalung, an appointee of the same government, would have none of it.
The sports minister in his action showed no respect for the Acting President at the time, insisting that, as a lawyer, he would rather be on the side of the rule of law than on the side of government which wants an out of court settlement of the crisis in the interest of the game and the teeming youths of the country who derive joy in either playing the game or supporting it directly or indirectly.
In one breathe, Dalung would say that he doesn’t reckon with the NFF board voted in by the football Congress on September 30, 2014 in Warri, Delta State and in another appoint reconciliation committee to resolve the tussle between the Chris Giwa group and the Amaju Pinnick group.
In as much as one would not want to encourage individuals or organisations to disregard the laws of the land, it is also advisable that any individual or organisation whose personal interest over-rides that of the country, should tread with caution in pursuing that personal interest in order not to undermine the national interest.
What would an individual or organisation gain if the interest of millions of our youths who depend on a particular sport for survival or emotional stability is mortgaged for his or its personal interest?
It is on this premise that the actions of the sports minister in heating up the football polity instead of playing the fatherly role of trying to reconcile the disputing parties than taking sides and disobeying higher authority by either his pronouncements or body language should be condemned.
Based on the minister’s numerous actions since he was appointed in 2015, this writer and many other concerned Nigerians have severally called on President Buhari to either call him to order or remove him from his position as he has continued to embarrassed not only the government but the Nigerian people who he ridicules daily in and outside the country.
It was not a surprise therefore that a prominent Nigerian and former Federal Commissioner for Information and South-South leader, Chief Edwin Clark added his voice at the weekend to the call on President Buhari to “as a matter of urgency” relieve Solomon Dalung of his post as Sports Minister “in the overall interest of the future of football”in Nigeria. And I dare say not only football but other sports, particularly basketball, which he has tried to pull down by destabilizing its governing body in Nigeria, the NBBF, despite the progressive rise of the sport in Africa in recent years.
Stressing that the Sports Ministry has no place for the likes of Solomon Dalung, Clark said, “Mr Dalung’s last action was his unfortunate foray into ethnic frolic, total disrespect and disloyality in his open show of crass ignorance and incompetence, when Mr Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo,, then as Acting President, took the patriotic step to honour and recognize the Amaju Pinnick-led NFF, an action which saved Nigeria from international soccer embarrassment.”
From the pronouncement of Dalung, it is safe to say that he has no grasp of what sports administration is all about hence his flip-flop actions which portrays Nigeria in bad light before the world.
If the president does not want to hearken to the calls by Nigerians to ease the Plateau-born politician out of his cabinet for reasons best to him, we urge him as a matter of national interest to call him to order immediately.
Congrats D’ Tigers
Also while I was away, the national men’s basketball team led by Ike Diogu, a selfless and patriotic player, qualified for the World Cup holding in China next year with one more round of qualifying matches to spare.
The players have proved that despite the crisis in the administration of the sport, they are willing to do their best to lift the country always. The women’s team also qualified for the World Cup and are currently campaigning in Spain. They lost their opening game to Australia yesterday but are hopeful to do better in their second game today against Turkey and Argentina on Tuesday. Here is wishing them the best in their campaign.