Barrister Solomon Dalung has paid glowing tributes to President Muhammadu Buhari for giving him the opportunity to serve as the Minister of Youth and Sports for the past three and half years.
The Minister eulogized the President at a brief Handover ceremony held at the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development in Abuja on Tuesday.
While officially handing over the office to the Permanent Secretary at the expiration of his tenure and as directed by the President Muhammadu Buhari, Barrister Dalung also thanked the sporting press for their support, criticism and advice while he served as Minister in the Youth and Sports Ministry.
“I want to sincerely thank God for giving me this very rare opportunity to serve Nigeria. When I was posted to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, I knew where I was coming to, including sports and its national interest but I was determined to make a difference to correct an impression about leadership in the Ministry of sports.
“I want to thank those I worked with. Sincerely, whatever is referred to today as achievement in Sports is a collective contribution of everyone seated here. We have worked tirelessly to earn these achievements that are contained in these documents.
“For the performance, it is left for your judgement. It is you who will say whether we have tried or not but I believe we have done our best. It is very very difficult to work in this ministry where you are judged by the way you dress but I also thank God that I am in history today, the longest serving Minister of Youth and Sports minister.
“I also want to thank our partners, the sporting press. My sincere appreciation to the media for their criticism which gingered me to work harder. Today, I am leaving this office full of joy. I’m so elated for seeing my tenure to the end . I thank the Ministry and I wish to remind you that the responsibility saddled upon you is quite demanding. Nigerians demand so much from you but unfortunately, it is one of the ministries that is budgetarily underfunded.”
The minister regretted the poor budgetary allocations for sports and called on the National Assembly to improve on the allocation for sports .
“Sports is one of the capital intensive programs that any government pursuing it must sacrifice for it. I went cap in hand to the private sector to revive the National Youth Games. Most of the performing athletes we have now are products of the National Youth Games of 2016.
“If we had based our performance on the budgetary allocations to the Ministry, we wouldn’t have won almost a thousand, five hundred medals in three and half years. I must credit President Muhammadu Buhari for this great feat due to the support we enjoyed from him through intervention funds. We must appreciate the contribution of sports to national development.”
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary Mr Olusade Adesola eulogized the minister for his achievements in the last three and half years.
“The Ministry of Youth and Sports has been fortunate to have Barrister Solomon Selcap Dalung deployed here. Since his assumption of office in this ministry, situations changed. He came, he saw and he conquered. Data available in this report testifies to that.
“When we summarize the medals won during the tenure of Barrister Solomon Dalung, in 2015, the entire Sports Federations won a total of 390 medals. In 2016 we won 176 while 227 medals were won in 2017 and in 2018 we won 700 medals.
“The youth sector was not left out. Many young people were trained in a number of skills acquisition programs. These are just few of the strides and accomplishments of the Minister.”
The Minister later handed over a 160-paged document to the Permanent Secretary. The handover report in three volumes contained first, a report on the Ministry, its Parastatals, the affiliate agencies namely; NADC, LOC, PCN. Volume 2 comprises Departmental reports while Volume 3 has the reports from Parastatals.