The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar, has showered praises on the former Sports minister, Sunday Dare, for the giant strides he made in office within a short time.
After a brief handover event on Monday, Abubakar noted that Chief Dare deserved huge commendation for his laudable initiatives in the ministry while in charge.
He particularly stressed that in three and a half years, Nigeria won a total of 254 medals made of 95 gold, 71 silver and 88 bronze medals across all competitions.
Abubakar noted that through some of Dare’s policies like Adopt-an-Athlete, Adopt a pitch, etc, Nigeria dominated Africa and indeed took the world by storm in Athletics, Wrestling, Basketball, Table Tennis, Cycling, Para-Athletics, Hockey, Powerlifting, Boxing, Para-table Tennis, Volleyball, Scrabble, and indeed Football.
He argued that it was the unprecedented achievements that were recognized by former President Muhammadu Buhari who on Sunday 28th May 2023 conferred on Sunday Dare Commander of the Order of Niger (CON).
The Perm Sec said: ‘Top moments under his reign was when Tobi Amusan became the first ever Nigerian World Athletics Champion and World Record holder winning the women’s 100m hurdles gold medal at the 2022 World Championships, setting the current World Record of 12.12 seconds in the semi-final. Amusan is one of beneficiaries of Adopt-An-Athlete initiative.
‘The achievements of Nigeria at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, are the country’s best outing in the competition with 35 medals consisting of 12 gold, 9 silver, and 14 bronze.
‘Athletes’ and coaches’ welfare were major priorities of the Sports Ministry under Dare, as his Adopt-an-Athlete and Adopt-a-Pitch now become a model for some African countries, that have seen the immediate gains such model.
‘Currently, the domestic football leagues in Nigeria in witnessing a turnaround with the Interim management Committee set up by Chief Dare. In Basketball (Women’s Afrobasket), D’Tigress ruled Africa as back-to-back champions in 2019 and 2021. The D’Tigers, Nigeria male senior national team, became first Africans to beat USA.
‘Also, the Nigeria Volleyball U-19 boys won the African title in 2021 and 2022 while Nigeria’s Hockey men’s national team won Bronze Medal at the 2022 African Nations Cup in Ghana. One can go on and on…’