I Weep For Swan...

By Desmond Ekwueme

Posted  457 Views updated 2 years ago

Ernest Okonkwo

Sebastine Offorum

Sunny Obazu-Ojeagbase

Ayo Ositelu

Fabio Lanipekun

Ishola Folorunso

Tolu Fatoyinbo

Yinka Criag

Ikeddy Isiguzo

Paul Bassey

Emeka Odikpo

Mitchel Obi

Onochie Anibeze

Danladi Bako

Ejiro Omonode

Fan Ndubuoke

Emeka Inyama

Samm Audu

Mumini Alao

Sam John

Hameed Adio

Walter Oyatogun

Emiko Bake

Gboyega Okegbenro

Olu Amadasun

Nnamdi Anazia

Charles Ojugbana

Tony Akiotu

Stanley Nkwazema

Larry Izamoje

Tayo Balogun

Mainasara Ilo

Muyiwa Daniel

Waheed Olagunju

Akinloye Oyebanji

Tony Nezianya

Richard Asiegbu

Each time I remember these aforementioned names, my heart bleeds for the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) considering the crisis that is slowly consuming the body.

Indeed, the troubles of SWAN is a reflection of the ills of or in our society. The NBA is polarised. What of the NMA? Worse hit by the malady is the sporting circle where the NBBF, NFSSC and AFN have been facing internal wrangling and factional breakups...

The battle for leadership and supremacy which has engulfed the national body of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria is most unfortunate, regrettable and avoidable

It has not only polarised or torn the once respected body apart but it has destroyed whatever reputation that is left of or with it.

An average sports writer is now seen as a mere hanger-on, an idler, a no-jobber or even a nobody. The image of the sports writer is further bruised, battered...and further messed by the poor working conditions in the media which has resulted to the near impossibility of media houses paying salaries.

Add these to the closure of several media houses due to the poor economic situation of the country in the last few years and the "double recession attacks* in the last three years then, you will understand or better appreciate the image courted by an average sports writer which had been worsened by the cold war to control or lead SWAN.

Sadly and ironically, SWAN and even it's parents body the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) or even the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) is not or are not doing enough to help the course of the average journalist who is kicked out by his or her employers into the labour market without a dime or something to fall back on.

Back to SWAN.... This is not the body which once attracted the high and mighty and captains of industry to it's affairs, operations or activities This is not the SWAN the likes of Late Bashorun MKO Abiola, Comdr. Emeka Omeruah, Comdr. Anthony Ikazoboh, Comdr. John Obakpolor, Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas and Sola Rhodes among others were proud of.

This isn't the SWAN that corporate organizations like Coca-Cola, Bournvita, Pepsi, Globacom, Nestle Foods, PZ and Unilever among others associated with or patronised.

This isn't the SWAN that Fan Ndubuoke, Ezinwa Mbaise once built so professionally, honourably, graciously, gloriously, prestigiously, enterprisingly and resourcefully to become the envy of Africa and one of the fulcrums of African Sports Journalists Union (ASJU) and or Association of International Sporting Press (AIPS)

For record purposes, let me state clearly here that, at the early stage of this crisis, Yours Sincerely stepped in voluntarily and quietly to move for peace.

Honour Sirawoo

can testify....and the Lagos SWAN Chairman is alive to also confirm my little effort to bring sanity to the house. A few other persons were contacted and consulted by me to nip the crisis in the bud...

But when soldiers have sworn for war with daggersdrawn or guns fully loaded....waiting to shoot...and the drums of war are coming from afar, no one can hear in the pandemonium of brewing mayhem or chaos.

At the point of loading their guns in preparation for this war, little did the warriors understand that the crisis in SWAN will have a bandwagon effect on sports in the country generally. Rather than concentrate on their duty of shaping opinions and playing the watchdog role, sports writers took asides in the crisis to fan the embers of war thus, shifting their attention and focus from the real job of sports gatekeeping in terms of information dissemination to help sports grow.

So why won't we have a domestic football league without a sponsor...or a national team coach who doesn't value or respect the domestic league? Why won't we have sports federations run like private businesses? Are we as sports writers concerned about the fact that our nation has no sports policy?

This isn't the SWAN I knew....

Mr. Desmond Ekwueme is a renowned Nigerian Journalist based in Lagos, Nigeria.

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