By Raymond Olosin
Well-travelled journalist, a seasoned scholar and accomplished administrator, Sunday Dare was on Tuesday, July 23 2019, announced as one of the 43 ministers-designate by Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari.
The multilingual 53-year-old hails from Ogbomoso in Oyo State, South-West Nigeria, and represents a generation of Nigerians who have come full circle having been born just before the Civil War, witnessing the 2nd and 3rd republics, fighting the military junta via guerrilla journalism, helping to entrench the 4th Republic before now taking up leadership roles. Mr. Dare’s impressive resume reads like a thriller novel, as it shows a man that has lived an exciting, challenging but ultimately successful and exemplary life.
After bagging a Bachelor of Science (BSc.) degree in international studies and a master’s degree in international law and diplomacy from two of the most respected universities in Northern Nigeria, Mr. Dare took to the skies to pursue more knowledge abroad. Before this, though, he left his indelible mark all over his country of birth. Tired of seeing his country ravaged by poor and contemptuous corruption aided and abetted by unscrupulous military leadership, he joined the elite league of news reporters, who dedicated their lives to afflicting the comfortable while comforting the afflicted. While his contemporaries choose to join the civil service or take up cushy jobs in the banks, he chose to risk his life by investigating corruption, unearthing deep truths and exposing it to the world. This was one of the most dangerous jobs anyone could do at the time, but he and a select few did it and excelled at it. For more than a decade, he lived vicariously. He saw his closest friends and mentors dragged to jail, felled by bullets or beaten to within an inch of their lives. He was never deterred.
When in 1999 the military handed over power to civilians, Nigeria owed a great amount of gratitude to the likes of Mr. Dare. But, he had done his service to his fatherland and it was time to move on. Given how much respect and experience he had garnered over the years, Mr. Dare was offered so many fellowships and jobs abroad. In 2001, he took up the challenge to become the chief of the Voice of America (VOA) Hausa Service, Africa Division in Washington D.C. His job, simply put, was to compete in content and audience share with the already established BBC Hausa Service. Armed with all the experience he needed, Mr. Dare quickly conceptualised and directed radio programming in Hausa and English languages to a targeted weekly audience of over 21 million in Nigeria and countries in the West Africa sub-region. He was a hit. He held the job for eight years until the call to return home became too loud to ignore.
In 2009, he became the media adviser to the honourable minister for information and communication on all media-related matters and government information dissemination and media policy. He held the job for a year until he was asked to take up the role as chief of staff/special adviser media to former Governor Bola Tinubu of Lagos State. Being the first person the great man saw in the morning and the last person he saw at night was a herculean task. The political leader was oiling his machinery to get the progressives into power at the centre, hence his schedule was gruelling. Mr. Dare was, among other things, responsible for the overall coordination of all political, social and business activities while simultaneously acting as media adviser and was coordinating all media interventions, interviews, interactions, communications, speech writing, research, documentation and advice on policy matters. The job of at least four men but he did it with enviable calm and grace.
At the request of President Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu reluctantly released Mr. Dare from his duties and he was appointed as executive commissioner, stakeholder management, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). This has been his role in the last three years until this new call to serve.
In 2010, the father of two lovely girls became an Oxford University research fellow with his research work published under the heading: New Media and Citizen Journalism in Africa-A Case Study: Using New media Tools and Citizen Journalism to Investigate Corruption in Nigeria. He has authored three other books and is working on two more.
He is also a multi-award winner home and abroad and is a member of many prestigious associations. He is constantly sought out to provide insight on establishing media outlets, a skill he is most proud of.
In the run-up to the 2019 elections, Mr Dare briefly offered himself to serve as governor of his beloved state but aligned with the party when it chose to field another person as the candidate. His contributions to his community have won him accolades as he introduced a new way of doing politics to the grassroots. His health intervention, “Digi Dare”, was a fan favourite.
President Buhari made a particularly great choice in picking this man, who bridges the gap between the old and the young. He is a product of tested and trusted political operators but has the mien and energy of youth. His love for technology and how it fits into almost all spheres of life shows how balanced he is. Little wonder his nomination has drawn praise from everyone from his traditional rulers to his massive followers on social media.
Mr Dare is duty-ready!
- Olosin, a registered member of the APC and the Buhari Campaign Organisation, writes from Lagos and is