With the swearing in of Senator John Owan Enoh as the 36th sports minister in Nigeria since independence in 1960, chairman of the Local Organising committee of the 2024 National Sports Festival, Hon. Bukola Olopade believes that the sports sector in the country will continue to soar.
Enoh was sworn in on Monday along with the other ministers. Remarkably, it was on the same date, 21 August that his predecessor, Sunday Dare was also sworn in in 2019.
Olopade said he believes that Enoh will continue where Sunday Dare stopped. An indication to this is the fact that the new minister has retained Kola Daniel who worked with Dare as media aide.
He stressed further that both ministers assumed offices on the same date – 21 August.
Speaking from Budapest, Hungary at the on-going World Athletics Championship, Olopade remarked that the preparation for the National Sports Festival holding next year in Ogun State will get a new lease of life.
He dismissed suggestions that the new sports minister could be hampered as he did not have sporting background.
“What matters is the managerial ability that he possesses”, remarked Olopade who pointed out that most successful sports managers were never experts in the sports that they control.
He gave the example of the legendary Dr. Joao Havelange who was FIFA president for 24 years and who turned FIFA into a powerful and financially buoyant organisation which is easily the most financially stable sports body in the world.
“Havelange was never a footballer. He was just a swimmer and water polo player at the 1936 Olympics.
“Yet, he ruled the world football governing body and had the second longest tenure after that of Jules Rimet.”
Olopade pointed out that it was during Havelange’s tenure that all the current world football competitions were introduced.
“We should therefore not judge a book by the cover. We should give the minister a conducive environment to turn around our sports for the better,” remarked Olopade.