By Albert Akota
Former minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung’s name did not make the list of 43 ministerial nominees sent by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Senate yesterday for screening and confirmation.
President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan read the names at yesterday’s plenary session with Dalung’s name missing.
The 54-year-old was engaged in bitter row with leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation for the better part of his tenure as minister of youth and sports.
There was the avoidable crisis in the basketball and athletics federations, as well as the ‘missing IAAF $130,000’, among many other lows, which did not help the rating of the beret wearing ex-minister.
He was rumoured to be among the list of ministerial nominees and favoured to return to the post especially after he was named in the 11-man federal government delegation to offer support to the Super Eagles at the recently concluded 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
The sports fraternity in Nigeria will now await the appointment of a new minister with lawyer, Festus Keyamo, a staunch football lover the only notable name who is well associated with sports on the list of the nominees.
Dalung had earlier said that his reappointment by President Muhammadu Buhari is unstoppable by “any human being.”
When asked to clarify allegations that he had issues with some stakeholders he perceived were working against his reappointment, Dalung replied, “No, there is nobody born of a woman that can stop my appointment if God wants it to be. I am not carried away by such sentiments.”
The Plateau-born lawyer, who insisted that he managed the crisis “effectively” as minister, noted that he was prepared to bring advancement to the sports sector, if reappointed.
“It’s God that gives power. If He chooses again to give me power, I think I will focus more on consolidating on a very viable grassroots development architecture; I will redirect most of government’s funds to that.
The professional athletes will always be compensated for representing the country, but we need to balance things.
“I hope to also de-emphasise the construction of some of the giant sporting infrastructures that we have, as well as align myself with the world by adapting to convertible methods.
You can build up a sporting arena, play and still use the venue for another thing. I saw that when we went for the Commonwealth Games (Australia 2018).