No doubt, the massive embarrassment of the Sunday Dare led Team Nigeria at the just concluded Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan is not what a serious country like Nigeria should sweep under the carpet, especially when she prides herself as the Giant of Africa.
The series of scandals, the international disgrace and the back to back embarrassment which followed our participation at the Games were monumental; from the disqualification of 10 of our athletes by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) because he failed to direct the carrying out of the three mandatory Out of Competition Tests (OTC) in the run up to the Games, and the protest that erupted after an ill-thought Press Release by the Sports Ministry describing the disqualified athletes as ‘Alternate Athletes’.
“The 10 athletes are principally alternate and foreign students, whose tests did not meet with World Anti Doping Agency WADA sample collection and analysis standards”. The Ministry lied in a Statement.
After the embarrassment of seeing 10 of Nigeria’s best athletes disqualified over administrative incompetence, forcing the athletes to carry placards in Tokyo, one of Nigeria’s medal hopefuls, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi posted a video of himself washing his jersey.
Chukwuebuka who made it to the Shot Put Finals, stated in the video that he was washing his competition jersey for his next outing.
It was a case of suffering in the midst of plenty with the availability of PUMA kits containing 40 items per bag for each athlete, which the Hon. Minister vowed will never be used by Team Nigeria.
Amidst the outrage from Nigerians worldwide, the Hon. Minister of Youth & Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Akin Dare attempted to deflect the issues with a lengthy statement wherein he scored himself high without telling Nigerians how much was approved for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Rather than bury his face in shame, the Minister went on a self acclamation that “the medal outcome at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics stands as Nigeria’s best result in the last 13 years.” Haba!
Mr. Dare claimed that he was inspired by the outcome of the Olympics and that the country can build on the successes achieved in Tokyo, forgetting that he spent close to 2 years in office before the Olympics. Most of his predecessors spent a few months leading to the Games.
On the unfortunate incidents that resulted in 10 Team Nigeria athletes being ruled ineligible to compete for missing the mandatory Out of Competition Tests, Dare stated “when notice of this ruling got to me, I immediately mobilized my team and the AFN leadership to see how the situation could be salvaged. We mounted a vigorous appeal process with the AIU and had the team members complete the tests. However, timing became the critical issue. Despite our energetic appeal, the deciding committee made its announcement which gave no latitude to our team members for what was only an inadvertent lapse.” Shame! You thought you were home.
Long before now, the Hon. Ibrahim Shehu-Gusau led AFN board drew the attention of the National Anti-Doping Committee (NADC) to the dangers of not carrying out these tests, but an order from the HM forbade the NADC from interfacing with Hon. Gusau led AFN.
It is important to note that Nigeria won gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in such areas as international embarrassment and disgrace rather than on the track and on the field. The lame explanations from the Minister and his team cannot atone for his leadership lapses.
The Minister told and continues to tell the world with confidence that the PUMA deal is purely a Federation matter i.e. that of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN). While doing this, he easily forgets that he (Sunday Dare) personally wrote to anti-graft agencies to investigate the PUMA deal.
How can he claim not to be aware of a deal for which he authored petitions challenging its execution? In this case, he said, “the matter is subjudice, it involves the AFN and PUMA, whatever was signed was between PUMA and AFN.”
After a careful investigation, the DSS responded to his petition and exonerated Mr. Adeleye of any wrong doing stating in their discharge letter that “The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) entered into a valid contract with Dynamic Sporting Solutions Nigeria Limited.
It further stated that “The AFN gave Dynamic Sporting Solutions Nigeria Limited the mandate to source for sponsorship on her behalf in a letter dated 4th September 2018 signed by Ademu A. Elijah, Secretary General of AFN.
“The AFN duly authorized Dynamic Sporting Solutions Nigeria Limited to deal with PUMA on behalf of the Federation in a letter dated 23 June, 2019 and signed by Patrick Estate, Head Marketing and there is no evidence that Dynamic Sporting Solutions Nigeria Limited received money meant for AFN from PUMA”.
The agency therefore “reiterated that the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the AFN Board should employ internal mechanism to resolve the lingering disputes”.
The Minister’s claim that Team Nigeria was properly kitted was another cosmetic lie. The Ministry’s statement and his self-imposed AFN’s statement are at variance. If they were properly kitted, Chukwuebuka would not have broadcast a video of him washing his jersey and tagged ‘when you have only one jersey’.
“Team Nigeria was properly kitted for the Games with a 9-item back pack using a local manufacturer in harmony with President Buhari’s policy on local content.” Dare stated.
It is very unfortunate that an appointee of Mr. President would lie against his Principal.
There is no record of any of Mr. President’s policies which directs anyone to spend taxpayers’ money to procure any material that has been provided to the country at no cost.
Puma’s Agreement with AFN comes without cost to the Federation or the country.
Again, was due process followed in the award of the contract to kit Team Nigeria?
Furthermore, who owns AFA, the Sports Kitting Company that kitted Team Nigeria or was the kitting of Team Nigeria by AFA without cost to the country?
What is the relationship between the owners of AFA and the Minister? What’s the price tag? What is Sunday Dare’s interest in AFA?
These are questions begging for answers.
The ‘Adopt-an-Athlete’ initiative, which was conceptualized and launched by the late Jide Fashikun (one time athlete and later a journalist) was hijacked by Sunday Akin Dare and today he goes about bragging with the same project that late Mr.Fashikun birthed.
Good to know that the Minister has apologized to Nigerians and he has also ordered a full scale investigation into all the failures at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Hear him, “As the Minister, I must bear some institutional responsibility for this lapse. I also had to depend and expect that each person in the long and often technical chain will perform their role expeditiously and with precision.
“Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, someone failed in their responsibility and as Minister I bear the responsibility and brunt of criticism. But that is not enough. I must move to ensure that Nigeria never experiences another such moment. I have ordered a full investigation that will not only uncover what happened, but will also, recommend a process where such lapses can never occur in the future and initiate leveraging compliance monitoring technology to guardrail this”. (Imu)
In a civilized clime, Sunday should have resigned honorably for these multiple blunders but here, he sits tight and it hoping for the next Olympics!
Again, as they say Nemo judex in causa sua (the Latin phrase that means, literally, “no-one is judged in his own cause”).
Who is heading Sunday Akin Dare’s Investigative Committee?
What are the antecedents of the Members of the Committee?
What happened to the Report of the Investigation of the Committee that looked into the Doha saga?
Someone should please tell Mr. Sunday Akin Dare that setting up a Committee whose report and/or recommendations will definitely not be made public or implemented is akin to winking in the dark.
In his explanation, the Honourable Minister refused to tell us what was budgeted for the Games.
Kenya’s budget for Tokyo 2020 was 6 million dollars with 100 athletes participating. South Africa budgeted 12.7 million Rands with 187 athletes. Team Ghana spent 300,000 dollars with a contingent of 16 athletes.
Honourable Minister, how much was Nigeria’s budget for the games?
How much was approved and how much was released?
How did you spend?
Who should take the fall for this monumental embarrassment?
The Minister embarking on a begging spree cannot stop us from asking the relevant questions. Resign now, Mr.Sunday Akin Dare.