ABUJA – The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, yesterday said that one of the reasons Nigeria is a troubled nation is because its reward system had collapsed.. Dalung Dalung Dalung made this known in Abuja during an award ceremony organised for the 2017 retirees of the Ministry and all successful sports medalists in the same year. The Minister expressed the view that if ordinary Nigerians who distinguished themselves in character were recognised for national awards at the expense of politicians and moneybags, a solid foundation for the resuscitation of the country’s national values would have been laid He maintained that Nigeria will remain in trouble unless materialism and money-worship is shunned; stressing that the nation can only be rebuilt when the values of hard work and diligence are not only upheld but celebrated. His words: “Our country is in trouble because our reward system has collapsed. One will serve this country faithfully with his strength and when he retires, the same system one served will consider him a stranger to it. “Nigeria is a country where those who are feeling ‘big’ and living ‘big’ cannot give account of how they got to where they are, and those who are serving the country with their strength and in diligence are still living unrecognized. “I am of the strong opinion that if we are giving national awards in this country, we should avoid circulating them among politicians. “We should look at Nigerians who have served the nation diligently in their modest capacities maybe as rural farmers or community leaders. Such persons should be recognised for national awards. We should look for people who are of good behaviour and character and recognised them. This will begin to lay a foundation for the resuscitation of our national values, and Nigeria will pick up as a country. “But, if we continue to worship and celebrate money in a society like ours where one cannot get a good seat in places of worship because of his poverty, we cannot develop. “I am challenging Nigerians to shun materialism and uphold the values of hard work in order to rebuild the nation.” Dalung, who also lamented the neglect and non-recognition of sports men and women that distinguished themselves and made the nation proud through their successes in international sports tournaments, said the government must set the tune by encouraging them through an effective reward system. “For sports, we have not had a fair share in the country. It is sports that have made this country proud. It is sports that have promoted the image of this country. Even in trying periods, sports have augmented the deficit of our image. But sportsmen in the country have not been honoured much,” he stated
He appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to shun the direction of politicians and consider deserving sports personalities when next he is rolling out the list of awardees for national honours, adding that “most sports men and women who have made this country proud are not looking for money but recognition.” He also urged the Head of the Civil Service, Mrs Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita, to make it a policy issue that those who have worked and retired successfully from public service should be celebrated.
The Vanguard Reports