*What makes one a sports journalist?
Ironically, by my training in the University I should be able to help the Emperor with his insanity but he had decreed that those of us who are “not trained” as journalists are aliens in the profession. All hail the real stranger in sports journalism, Emperor Honour Sirawoo. The man who bought the throne and who by tradition is not qualified ab initio to even contest for the office he presently occupies.
By the 1980s when Mitchel Obi was Editor of Guardian Express I wonder where Mr Sirawoo was? I was during that period trading my silky skills with El-Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri before I left for Zamalek SC of Egypt. I got injured in November 1987 and returned to the University.
Each time I sauntered into Lagos, Mitchell, Gboyega Okegbenro, Muyiwa Daniel, Sunleye Solawunmi and those folks will give me kudos and look forward to my return fully to the profession despite I was stringing for the National Concord group. As at that time, these were the strongmen of sports journalism in Nigeria.
The thrust of this argument here is that Mitchel Obi, a foremost practitioner of the art and science called sports journalism is not a qualified member of SWAN and NUJ? Who is determining same? I will return to the latter question.
I feel terrible when people who have no history are challenging history makers about their role in the present. I give honour and respect to Mitchel Obi as my senior on the job. However, I posit that when I was at the height of my practise as a Sports Editor (from The Herald, to Daily Times’ Sporting Times, National SportsLink, ThisDay) this same Sirawoo never met me nor had the privilege of probably reading any of my reports.
When I went to the National Secretariat, I found out that Mitchel Obi’s NUJ registration number is 1836. He was admitted since 1983. I was admitted in 1986 in Ilorin. Since then, I was told that, he has been meeting his membership obligations.
Corporate Governance procedure: I asked some of our folks who are in Sirawoo’s Executive Committee and they variously confirmed that they never at any point met to discuss the issue of Mitchel Obi’s candidature which is now subject of controversy. By eduction, Mr Sirawoo became a Sole Administrator in taking that decision. If that is the case, it is an impeachable offence. He has brought odium and disgrace to SWAN and should resign if he has honour and shame.
Was there a committee to review and arrive at the said decision informing his stance? Who are the members of the committee? When was the committee set up? Where did the committee sit? On what dates and times? What were the decisions of the said committee?
Emperor Sirawoo: His arrogance I once predicted will shoot him down and I think the days are too close. If the rules are followed strictly, the NUJ Constitution is very clear. In the event of any inconsistency between the bye-law of SWAN and the NUJ Constitution, the NUJ shall take precedence.
By that provision, Honour Sirawoo is NOT a SWAN member and could not have been elected ab initio. That law has to be tested with the NUJ first and probably in a court of law in days to come.
He loves power. He went to Wuse market in Abuja to buy the title ‘National President’ whereas the bye-law that brought him into office calls him National Chairman. His mates of the National Executive Council claim he carries through like a Lord with or without their input.
Issue of SWAN ID card: Since Mr Sirawoo took off illegally as it is now, has his administration issued a valid SWAN ID card o its members across Nigeria? Mr. Sirawoo knows the truth. Asking Mitchel Obi for SWAN ID is both stupid and senseless of the National Chairman of SWAN.
Is SWAN compulsory for all Sports Writers in the country? I am aware that by logic, there is no SWAN member in Nigeria including him. Reason. All SWAN ID cards expired since last year. No new cards have been issued since the Ilorin fraudulent election that brought him into office.
Mitchel Obi is a valid member of Lagos SWAN: When questions were raised, a senior official of Lagos SWAN, the chapter Mitchel Obi belongs, which has the authentic right to determine his membership said, “for the avoidance of any kind of doubt, Mitchel is a bonafide member of our chapter. You were around when the Lagos chapter of SWAN held its last election in 2014. It’s 3 years life competes by about November 2017.
“You will also recall that election was supervised by the NUJ and national officers of SWAN. Ahead of the election, the register of members was updated and approved by National SWAN and NUJ as the Voters List for that event. That was the last time we updated our register.
“The name of Mitchel Obi was in that record as a member from Mastersport International and Mitchel Obi duly voted in that election. I have with me picture of his exercising his right in that election.
Nna zuwa. I will soon be back. Going on a short break.