New Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, Promises better days for athletes, officials

Sunday Dare

The newly-appointed Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare has promised that his administration will ensure better governance for sports.

Dare, who hails from Ogbomoso in Oyo State, said after his swearing-in yesterday that his era would be a regime where sports would be transformed completely. He added: “This is going to be an era where sporting activities will attain greater heights in Nigeria.”

He charged management and staff of the ministry to roll up their sleeves and get ready for work. “The ministry is critical to the realisation of Mr. President’s agenda of lifting 40 million Nigerians out of poverty.”

He emphasised that the youth was key to every developmental strides of any nation, believing that the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports mandate was very clear and transparent.

Also, he said he was determined to take sports from the back page to the front page of national discourse.

From the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration in 1999 till date, Sunday Dare is the 15th politician to hold the portfolio as sports minister.

Those who occupied the position before him were Damishi Sango, late Engr. Mark Aku, Steven Ibn Akiga (also late), Col. Musa Mohammed (rtd), Dr. Saidu Sambawa, Bala Bawa Ka’Oje, Abdulrahman Gimba, Sani Ndanusa, Alhaji Ibrahim Isa Bio, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman, Bolaji Abdullahi, Tamuno Danagogo and Solomon Dalung.

Sunday Dare was among the ministers assigned portfolios by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday.

Though, Dare may be relatively unknown in the sports circle, some people have pointed out that the man is not a greenhorn in the nation’s sports. Until his appointment, Dare was Executive Commissioner (Stakeholder Management) of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), and the convener of the Social Media Clinic (SMC), a Media/Information Technology (New Media) initiative committed to educating private citizens on IT development and the use of telecommunication as an information tool of creating awareness.

Dare graduated with a Bachelor of Science (BSc.) in International Studies from Ahmadu Bello University in 1991. He then proceeded to obtain a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the University of Jos. He was a Freedom Forum Fellow and Visiting Scholar, School of Journalism – New York University (NYU) in 1998. He later proceeded to Harvard University under the prestigious Harvard Nieman Journalism Fellowship between 2000 and 2001 where he studied Media and Public Policy.

In 2011 he won the Reuters Foundation Journalism Research Fellowship, University of Oxford, UK where he researched “New Media and Citizen Journalism in Africa – A Case Study: Using New Media Tools and Citizen Journalism to Investigate Corruption in Nigeria.”

Mr. Dare has decades of multimedia journalism experience spanning about 25 years (1991 and 2016) when he was nominated as Executive Commissioner.

He was the Chief, Hausa Service, African Division, Voice of America (VOA) in Washington, DC from 2001 to 2009, where, apart from directing the production of radio and online broadcast news and programs daily, he designed and implemented the adoption of new IT and Telecoms tools for international radio news-gathering and information dissemination to boost audience size and expand reach. He supervised the work of eleven (11) International Radio Broadcast Journalists based in Washington DC alongside 24 reporters/stringers based in West Africa for VOA.

He was a founding member of the Nigerian weekly magazines The News and Tempo in the heady days of the military, where he served as Editor, Tempo magazine and pioneer Online Editor/General.

He had been reporter/columnist with several international publications such as The Nation magazine in New York and a production editor/writer with the European funded Fourth Estate magazine during the struggle against military dictatorship in Nigeria.

In 2009, he became Senior Special Assistant (Media) / Chief of Staff to the Minister of Information and Communications during which he guided decisions on all media and communications related matters, government information dissemination and media policies under the purview of the Ministry. He was at this time assigned to oversee aspects of the operations of the NCC and brief the Minister of Information and Communications on issues, challenges and opportunities in Nigeria’s emerging telecommunications market. He also participated in strategic meetings between the office of the Minister, Information and Communications and the NCC leadership at that time, including being a member of the Minister’s advisory team on the sale of the 2.3GHz spectrum frequency.

Dare is the second politician from Oyo State to occupy the position of sports minister since 1999, the first being Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, who was appointed in 2010.

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