As curtain is gradually drawing on his tenure as the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Chief Sunday Dare has yet said he has given the job his best shot, adding he’s at the ready to serve the country in any capacity in the future.
Echoing the popular ‘veni, vidi, vici’ (I came, I saw, I conquered) sentiment attributed to Julius Caesar aeons ago , Dare affirmed he breathed a new life into the almost moribund sport sector during his tour of duty at his ministry.
“ My job is done as sports minister; I have put in my best and I am ready to move on,” Dare declared Friday in Lagos.. “Nobody would say again that the sport ministry is a child’s play rather, sport in Nigeria now is big business
“ One of the highpoints of my tenure was the reclassification of sports as business and the enactment of the Sports Industry Policy (SIP) which of course, is major achievement.”
Aside the SIP deal, Dare would also be remembered for some bold initiatives including the Adopt-A- Talent and Adopt-A- Stadium offerings which respectively helped in the improving the welfare of many of the country’s elite athletes as well as the facelift of some of stadia including the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja, National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos as well as the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium in Ibadan and Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna beside others from Daura to Ogbomosho.
“ Through the SIP, we have been able to put together a document that would on the long term turnaround our sports through private investments,” Dare further said on the program.“ In fact, there’s a technical committee put in place by both the Ministry of Finance and that of the Youth and Sport Development to work out how benefits accruable to those who brings investment into sport.
“ I believe they should be able to come out with the modalities in the next two weeks about how many years of tax holidays as well as a single digit tax percentage.
“ But don’t also forget that the omnibus incentives has already been approved by the Federal Executive Council since November 2, 2022. And they are also going to address the Independent Athletes Welfare Fund which is the first of its kind and they are just going to decide the amount of the seed money that would be put into the project in order to give grants to active athletes as well as support to retired athletes because it has already been approved by the government,” he offered.
Yet Dare who had previously served the President Muhammad Buhari-led government as Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said he was duty bound to offer more useful public service, adding he would be pleased to serve in any capacity if offered such opportunity by the incoming President -Elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu which incidentally he hitherto served as media aide.
In the meantime, a keen observer has spoken on recent outburst over the now controversial N21 Million budget estimate needed to revamp the dilapidated National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos.
He argued that those who are ‘knifing’ Dare on this particular project were only displaying their crass ignorance about what it takes to renovate an edifice that was built over five decades ago and which had equally suffered abandonment for almost two decades.
Sighting similar works done in other climes including the renovation of the Wembley Stadium in London and the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, he said the N21 Billion estimate for the National Stadium was even cheap.
“The average global estimates for stadium renovations and upgrade range between 400M dollars to 678M dollars in other places,” he quipped.
“For instance, the 81,000 capacity Santiago Bernabeu was recently renovated by Real Madrid at a cost of over $700 Million Dollars. “
He added: “How much did it cost to rebuild Wembley Stadium? The stadium was built by Australian firm, Multiplex at a cost of £798 million (£1.27 billion today).
Two partially-retractable roof structures over the east and west ends of the stadium had also been renovated but it did not come at a paltry sum.