By Amaechi Agbo
The new minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Akin Dare has read riot act to staff and management of the ministry stressing that ‘work starts now’.
The new minister made the charge on Wednesday during a brief reception organised by the ministry to welcome him into his new office.
Addressing staff, directors as well as the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Dare who was among the 43 ministers sworn in at the Presidential Villa earlier in the day, told them that he was not unaware of challenges and controversies in the ministry but vowed that he would be confrontational in other the bring the best among the staff and management of the ministry.
“As you can see, I have taken off my ‘agbada,’ that means work starts now. So let’s fold up our sleeves and work as a team. The President’s agenda is hinged on three things – security, revitalising the economy and fight against corruption.
“You can scale down further, there are 11 key areas that the President wants to energise in the next four years. And at the centre of them is to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.
“When you look at the population profile of our country today, you know where our youths stand. They stand at the top, therefore, youth development is key to the success of any government. We have youths, we have sports; so our mandate areas are very clear, we must broaden our horizon, we must deepen the work we do and the quality of work we are to deliver.
“I am not unaware of the challenges, controversies and developments within this ministry. It is a ministry that is dear to the hearts of Nigerians. Beyond soccer, we have other sports and at the heart of that work is youth development.
“Beyond sports, there are other ways we can develop the youths. We can develop them through digital skills. We will also find a way of taking sports out of the back pages and bring them back to the front pages with positive news. It is possible.
“I have over 28 years of media background, so I know that the media is an integral part of youth and sports development. So I thank the media for the work they have done, I will rely heavily on you again as we start this journey together. I do believe that after my briefing from the directors, then we will have a meeting with crucial resolutions. Some of them might be confrontational because I will ask difficult questions and try to exact the best from everyone. Because the mandate I have as minister is to make sure that this country shows up among countries of the world in the 21st century in virtually every department.
“Like I said earlier, the youth and sports development ministry is critical to the achievement of the agenda of the President. As we sit here today, we know what sports mean to millions of young Nigerians but beyond that, we have a youth population that is restless, that is hipper, that is demanding and wants answers and quickly.
“Therefore, we have to join our hands together and see what we can do. Beyond that, I intend to strengthen the inter-ministerial collaboration. We will collaborate with ministries we can work together with, pull resources together and see what we can do together to make success of our assignments. There will be further opportunities in the weeks ahead to engage and deepen the conversation.
“I also know that September is now the deadline for us to submit our budget. So, beginning from Friday, we will start looking at our budget. The Senate President have said they are ready to pass the budget. So there is work to be done by the ministry to ensure timely preparation and defence of the budget.
“For those who cancelled their flight to welcome me, I thank you and for those who were not in the reception for one reason or the other, please carry the message to them that work has started,” he said.
Who is Sunday Dare, the new minister of Youth and Sports?
The new minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare hails from Ogbomoso North local government, Oyo State. He is the immediate past Executive Commissioner (Stakeholder Management) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
He had once served as media adviser and Chief of Staff to the former Lagos State governor and national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
He was the Convener of the Social Media Clinic (SMC), a Media/Information Technology (New Media) initiative committed to educating private citizens on IT development and also in the use of telecommunication as an information tool and creating awareness on how to responsibly use the platform provided by advancements in Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
He graduated with a Bachelor of Science (BSc.) in International Studies from Ahmadu Bello University in 1991. He then proceeded to obtain a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the University of Jos.
He was a Freedom Forum Fellow and Visiting Scholar, School of Journalism – New York University (NYU) in 1998. He later proceeded to Harvard University under the prestigious Harvard Nieman Journalism Fellowship between 2000 and 2001 where he studied Media and Public Policy. In 2011, he won the Reuters Foundation Journalism Research Fellowship, University of Oxford, UK where he researched “New Media and Citizen Journalism in Africa – A Case Study: Using New Media Tools and Citizen Journalism to Investigate Corruption in Nigeria.”
Mr. Dare has decades of experience in multimedia journalism spanning about 25 years.
Mr Dare replaces Solomon Selcap Dalung who oversaw the affairs of the ministry from November 2015 to May 28, 2019.