There are rumours that President Muhammadu Buhari would reshuffle his cabinet soon and everyone has been begging him to make the Sports Minister the first casualty.
This optimism came because of the change mantra the then opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), had sold to Nigerians.
We were promised wholesale changes in the way governance is carried out and with the promise, Nigerians felt they were in for good tidings.
And when the President took as much as six months to name his ministers, telling all that he was looking for the most capable of Nigerians to run the affairs of the nation, everyone gave him the benefit of the doubt.
But one year down the line, it seems the President did not only fall for the now famous consultations and selections that characterise political appointment but was also hoodwinked by political god-fathers and party sponsors to appoint square pegs to fill round holes.
It is now glaring that 80% of the ministers appointed by President Buhari were mere tools of compensation and gratification for those who contributed to the success of the party at the elections.
But the most disappointing of these ministers has been the Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung, who has been in the news for all the wrong reasons at all times.
The Plateau State-born lawyer (we are told he has a degree in law), is probably the most popular minister in the country right now, but not for the right reasons.
The minister’s tenure so far can be described as unsettled, full of comedy of errors, gaffes, grammatical blunders and instability. In fact, never has Nigeria had such a cantankerous minister in the sports ministry.
Dalung, apart from his penchant for adorning himself in his revolutionary Khaki attire and red-beret reminiscence of the famous Karl Marx, shone like a thousand stars during the 2016 Rio Olympics when team Nigeria was enmeshed in the worst preparations ever.
Funds were not released by the ministry, leading to athletes paying their ways to their training camps while others even had to borrow kits to train with.
When the Dream Team were on a training tour of the United States of America, Dalung pretended he did not know why they were there when the team complained of being abandoned.
While addressing newsmen on why the U-23 football team was yet to leave for Rio, Brazil, a visibly angry Dalung questioned why the team was the US in the first place and who sent them there, even referring to the USA as the ‘United States of Nigeria.’
A visibly angry Dalung was quoted as saying:
“Who took them there? What are they there for? Because they are under-23 and they went to the US. Now they are having problems, does that become our business?”
Just as Nigerians tried to forget all his blunders, Dalung, a former prison warder, committed another faux pas when he declared that the Sports Ministry did not know that the victorious Super Falcons would win the AWCON in Cameroon, and as such, the ministry did not make provision for the payment of their bonuses and match allowances.
This was after the women had been holed up in an Abuja hotel for weeks with no hope in sight as to when they would collect their money running into several thousands of Dollars.
But this was a minister who, alongside the Chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, boarded a chartered flight to Cameroon to watch the finals of the tournament but left immediately after the match.
The recent gaffe by Solomon Dalung which has led to calls by Nigerians for the President to spare us further embarrassment, was during the Senate Committee on Sports hearing when our honorable minister, a former university lecturer, in a reply to a question on how funds released for the Olympics were utilized, said:
“The funds ‘spended were properly spended’ because we got them from intervention funds from Mr. President.”
Many have come to his aid with the argument that English is not our first language but please, English is used in Nigerian schools from Kindergarten to the university, and a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, should be above board.
President Muhammadu Buhari, we beg you to save us from this embarrassment called Solomon Dalung.