The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Chief Sunday Dare on Thursday defied the popular scriptural dictum which asserts that a prophet is without honour in his home place.
Contrary to this widespread belief, Chief Dare was honoured in his home state of Oyo with an award of excellence by the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Oyo State chapter.
Presenting the award to the Minister during the semi-finals of the Oyo SWAN Five -A- Side Football Tournament held at Lummy Turf, Idi Odo Challenge, Ibadan, the Chairman of the sports writers in the state, Comrade Niyi Alebiosu explained that the award was given to the Minister, who hails from Ogbomoso, to appreciate his immense contributions to the development of sports in the country.
“In all honesty, Chief Dare deserves this award. He is a detribalized Nigerian who genuinely pursues the even and equitable development of sports in all parts of the country. I know this because I have worked with the Minister at close quarters several times in the past,” Alebiosu noted.
While lauding the initiatives of the Minister in ensuring the renovations of key Federal Government owned stadia, starting with the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja, Oyo SWAN Chairman implored Chief Dare to also renovate Nigeria’s first modern stadium, the Obafemi Awolowo stadium in Ibadan.
“On behalf of the sportsloving people of Oyo State, I want to appeal to you sir, to renovate and if possible upgrade the Obafemi Awolowo stadium here in Ibadan. This stadium is historic and too important to be left to rot. This stadium had hosted major historical landmark sports events. In actual fact, the history of sports in Nigeria won’t be complete without reference to the roles played by the stadium, formerly called Liberty Stadium,” the widely traveled and highly experienced sports journalist said.
In his response to the unprecedented honour in his home state, the Minister, who is the first indigenous Minister to receive such honour from Oyo SWAN, lauded the resilience and splendid performance of the Alebiosu led SWAN in Oyo state.
“I commend the hard works of sports journalists in this state. You guys have been splendid in the excellent way you successfully organized your Week. As an administrator, I know it’s not easy putting an event of this magnitude together without any major hitch. Also, I shower encomiums on Oyo SWAN because you are thinking out of the box and setting the pace for others, in line with the tradition of the pacesetter state,”Chief Dare remarked.
The Minister pledged to support the association in the state in any capacity.
In the semi-finals watched by the Sports Minister, the competition’s defending champions, BCOS rode on the back of the hard fighting King FM to the final, after triumphing over their opponents 6-5 in the penalty shootouts used to decide the winner. The two teams had played out a 1-1 draw at regulation time.
In the other semi-final game, Agidigbo had a smooth ride over 32 FM, lashing them with three unreplied goals.
The two finalists will battle for the coveted trophy today, with the BCOS, known as Akede Bombers, poised to win the trophy again.