By; AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos
The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) has described the National Sports Festival Torch regarded as the Torch of Unity, travelling through the states of the federation, preparatory ahead the 19th National Sports Festival (NSF) slated for Abuja as a signal of the frills and thrills Nigerians will experience.
In a statement by the umbrella body for Nigerian sports journalists calling on sports writers at the state chapters to ensure that the Torch of Unity is given wide coverage to create the necessary sensitization and awareness it deserves.
The SWAN representative on the Media Sub-committee of the MOC for the festival and Vice President, North Central of the Association, Comrade Dan Musa further stated the commitment and preparation towards hosting a successful sports festival was commendable and urged for its sustenance to achieve success.
He commended the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Barr. Solomon Dalung for working towards staging the festival and his FCT counterpart, Mohammed Bello for accepting to host in the face of present economic realities following the failure of the initial designated host.
“The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory has displayed a rare commitment towards sports development in Nigeria, by addressing our pains at a time we felt the festival was a forgotten issue; at this point, as those saddled with the responsibility of projecting the events, we need to play our role effectively.”
The Vice-president who praised the renewed vigour in the activities of the National Secretariat and the corporate identity the association now wears following its registration on behalf of the secretariat, reminded chapters leadership and members, that the National Convention is expected to hold as usual during the festival in Abuja.
On the recent wilful detachment of some members of its FCT chapter from the Association, Comrade Musa who supervises the chapter, said “it is an expression of their individual rights of association which the National leadership of SWAN respects, and will act by setting up a Caretaker Committee among those that are still with us, since the chairman and some members of the executive are involved.
He averred that, it is obvious that “some people cannot stand change, especially if it prevents them from doing business as usual; “and we are very hard on discovered quacks among us; clearly, the Sirawoo led NEC is working to reposition SWAN in line with the Statutes; our umbrella body, the NUJ is pleased with the state of the Association; and we will not relent in giving sports development the desired support.
“Our President is aware of the state of the FCT chapter, remember that on two occasions the National Secretariat distanced itself from communique emanating from that congress; NEC is following up the situation and expect those that don’t want to practice sports journalism under the auspices of a registered SWAN affiliated to the NUJ not to parade themselves as members of the Association.
“As doing so will be viewed as intended to defraud unsuspecting members of the public, which will be reported to law enforcement agencies; we don’t want people to see us as fraudsters in the light of a media sector that has become a dumping ground for all manner of people.”