Immediate past sports minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung has given himself a pass mark, saying he did the best of what he could during his tenure that came to an end on Wednesday.
Dalung stated during his handing over ceremony in Abuja that he gave the job his best efforts and abilities, but agreed that many people are still critical of what he tried to do while he was in charge.
Nonetheless, the former prison’s warder went on to thank God for the opportunity he got to serve Nigeria and stated appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for trusting in him for three and half years.
While officially handing over to the Permanent Secretary, as directed by President Buhari, Dalung also thanked all Nigerian and the sports media for their support, criticism and advice while he served as minister.
He reasoned that the job was difficult for him, and would be demanding for anyone else who takes charge, due to poor budgetary allocations for sports and called on the National Assembly to improve on the allocation.
Dalung stated at length: “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 as achievement in Sports is a collective contribution of everyone.
“We have all worked together 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.
“I also thank God that I am in history the longest serving Minister of Youth and Sports. 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 is quite demanding.
“Nigerians demand so much from you but unfortunately, it is one of the ministries that is budgetarily underfunded.
“Sports is one of the capital intensive programs that any government pursuing it must sacrifice for it.
“We appreciate the contribution of sports to national development. I went cap in hand to the private sector to revive the 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.”