June, 9 2023.
Former captain of the Green Eagles of Nigeria, Segun Odegbami has lauded the immediate past Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Chief Sunday Dare for his outstanding leadership and unprecedented achievements, in the nation's sporting sector, in the last four years.
Chief Odegbami who said the encomium on the out-gone minister were deserving, was speaking during a large gathering of key stakeholders and eminent sports personalities, to celebrate Chief Dare, who has been rated by many technocrats in the sector, as the best and most resourceful sports minister, since 1999.
"This's the first time that I know of, that a minister of Sports would leave office, and people are celebrating him, it has never happen because nothing ever works well in sports, there’s that defeat, there’s that controversy, there’s and that scandal which always colours the performances of successive ministers" he noted.
Odegbami, who was christened 'Mathematical', in his days as Green Eagles and IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan player, further noted that Nigeria has in the past had other great ministers, who did very well. But because it's s sports and sports is about winning or loosing they were wrongly judged by critics, and never got celebrated, when they leave.
"The personalities gathering here are unbelievable. We all traveled down here, to come and celebrate you. We are not patronizing you, but it is fair to say in the last four years, you have served exceedingly well", he posited.
Recounting how dejected he and many in the sector received the news of Dare's appointment, being that he had no background in sports, Odegbami said all of such doubts, were quickly banished by the humanity, forward thinking, genuine intentions, patriotism, and a great sense of athletes welfare.
Odegbami, who now owns a private radio station, “Eagle 7 Sports Radio”, in Abeokuta, Ogun State; added that from the first Sports Minister he knew was Paulinus Umadike, who handed keys of houses in FESTAC to members of the 1980 Cup of Nations squad, he has known and followed the activities of every minister to date, and has no hesitation in praising Chief Dare.
"I wish he could spend one more year as sports minister, to see the fruits he planted sprout to become one of the biggest sporting projects in the history of sports in Nigeria. However, we won’t miss you because I know that the next steps you are going to take are greater steps". Odegbami, who will be 71 years old in August, concluded.