I am an experienced Social Media practitioner with a strong passion for connecting with customers of brands. As part of a team, I presently work on the social media account of a leading European auto company. On this job, I have brought my vast experiences in journalism, marketing, search engine optimisation and branding to play.
By Morakinyo Babajide-Alabi
Lately I have been wondering why some Nigerians are surprised by the quality of personality and intelligence that Nigeria’s Sports Minister Solomon Dalung possess. As a minister in the Change government of President Muhammad Buhari, Dalung has not for once put a foot right, even if it is to walk straight from his office to his official car.
As result of his limited quality, (or lack of) in critical areas of administration, and lately in the mastery of present and past tenses of English Language, he has managed to convince Nigerians that he, and other ministerial colleagues are nothing but overrated non performing demagogues. Whatever Dalung represents or portrays is how best to measure this administration that promised heaven on earth to win elections only to get to power and have no clue on what to do to improve the lives of the citizens. It is safe to conclude that the beret-wearing, khaki-loving minister has on many occasions defined the Buhari administration.
On August 7 this year, I asked in a piece published in the Sunday Vanguard, titled “Is The Nigerian Project Redeemable?” No doubt the piece did not go down well with some Nigerians. I had knocks from a few hard to convince citizens that the present leaders are taking us on a downward slope. A particularly angry individual sent me an email and questioned “what authority” I had to question the ability of the present crop of leaders who, in his words, are destined to take Nigeria to the promised land. He was quick to educate me that never in the history of Nigeria have we had an “assembly of sound, proven technocrats” steering the wheel of affairs.
The particular opinion article was inspired by the shameful handling of the preparations of the Nigerian contingent to the Rio Olympics by the Sports Ministry officials, led by Dalung. As a result of the ill preparations, inadequate training materials for athletes, inadequate resources that made athletes to resort “to begging” to enable individual participation and the massive travelling arrangements cock up supervised by the minister, Nigeria became a subject of ridicule and jokes all over the world.
We can still recollect, with red face, how American Delta Airlines had to rescue the national football team from defeat and shame when they risked being “walked over” for non-appearance in their first group match at the Olympics. They were stranded in their training camp in Atlanta, with no adequate provisions for them to journey to Brazil. We heard the hard to believe tale that John Mikel Obi saved the nation from a major embarrassment when he picked up the bill for the team’s accommodation and feeding.
Not done with the disappointment of the Sports Minister and his officials I wrote again on August 21, in a piece titled “In Nigeria, Square Pegs Are For Round Holes”. In the piece, published also in the Sunday Vanguard, I wrote “It is not unusual in Nigeria to see individuals with little or no experience appointed to fields that are far above their capabilities, however, this is the first time in the history of the Sports ministry that a minister without a clue of what sports administration is about has been appointed. Worse still, he does not care a hoot. Dalung, a lawyer by profession, is a classic example of everything wrong in political quota and Federal character appointments. His tenure at the sports ministry has exposed Buhari’s lack of sincerity or commitment to the change matra.”
Ralph, a patriotic Nigerian, condemned the article as total “Nonsense”, while stating that the Olympics was lost four years earlier on and, not due to Dalung’s “misadministration”. Unfortunately for Ralph, his feeble attempt at defending the capability of the sports minister has fallen flat, and no thanks to the various administrative errors that Dalung himself had presided over.
Dalung has been in and out of controversies, not particularly helped by his total lack of decorum or pretence of knowledge of what his responsibilities and duties are as a sports minister. However, there is need to pity this young man, who seem bent on destroying his own public image and invariably his political career, if he has any.
Dalung has shown, like his other ministerial colleagues, that he has “expended” all at his wits end and have nothing else to offer Nigerians. His total “disrespect” of past and present tenses brings to the fore, once again, the quality of the “dream team” of the Buhari government.
It is unfortunate (again) that Dalung is the one having his dance of shame in public now. I pity him as he happens to be the one always caught out in the beam of the headlights. But the reality is that his colleagues are not any better than him. Has there been any distinguishing factor between Raji Fashola and Dalung since they were sworn in? What about Kayode Fayemi? And to think of how much praises were heaped on Kemi Adeosun, Adamu Adamu, Rotimi Amaechi or Audu Ogbeh, during their nomination. These individuals, alongside Dalung, were touted as the best Nigeria could assemble to move the country forward.
The over hyped Fashola is now aptly tagged the “Minister of Darkness”, while Adeosun has lost the plot and the resultant effect is the shambles that we call Nigerian economy. Fayemi is lost in the crowd, despite his initial noise of making Nigeria a non-oil dependent nation. Ogbeh, no doubt is a spent man, who has no idea what seasons yams or maize are planted, while Amaechi is more concerned with Rivers State politics than laying the tracks for good transport system in the country.
To be fair to Dalung, he is in a great place among his colleagues, none of whom had got any defining moment in the lifetime of the Buhari administration. It will be a great “cheat” to try and portray Dalung any different from his colleagues. All the dream team ministers should be graded “failure” on all fronts. The Fasholas, Fayemis and others have all proved to be empty barrels that make the most noise.
The President is reported to be planning a reshuffle of the cabinet in the new year. Going by events in the past and the revelations by the First Lady Aisha, there will not be anything different from what we have now. It is a musical chair, which rewards “godfather-ism”, “cabal-ism,” and sizes of campaign donations than intellectual capabilities of well tested Nigerians.
I am praying for Dalung to retain his post as the minister of sports, at least till the end of the 4-year term of Buhari administration. By this we can, in future, write a good report of how sports development and administration were organised under Buhari. History is a good judge of men and women.