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NOC abusing media as tools of cheap threats in sports funding

*Use and abuse of media in vulnerable societies

Nigeria is a vulnerable society. Poverty is cheap and widespread. Even media practitioners are cheap products to buy to pursue narrow, sometimes untruth so long as the sponsor is paying the journalists some money many of the victims of such report rather than sue the bastards (like a popular lawyers’ sticker will say) they leave the journalist to God and so, when next another story that is paying comes he goes to publish again.

This is very common in our sports. This is part of what has destroyed our football today. However, I am one privileged sports journalist and want to thank God for that. I played handball for Nigeria for 20 years during which I featured in football for Zabgai FC of Bauchi and as a first generation of El-Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri.

I have reported from all genres. I started from radio to television, to tabloids, magazine and finally print. This has taken me across 32 countries and today, I look up to God with gratitude.

Nigeria Sports Development Fund Inc (NSDFI): I joined this body 13 years ago rising through the ranks to become its General Manager. Until two days ago, I got promoted to be its Acting Director General. Since 1994 to date, we had upheld the best corporate practices.

We set up structures to improve funding of sports. We funded expert committees. The presence of lottery is our baby before some folks we trusted stole it. Several other projects were stolen. Eight years ago we set up the Basic Olympic Opportunity Sports Training (BOOST). We invited the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) which they conceded in writing.

While they went to Rio Olympics, we kept working. We launched off the project in Ado-Ekiti where Aare Afe Babalola (SAN) kick started the process of raising N10billion aimed at bringing 1million children into sports in four years.

May their souls rest in absolute peace. DSP Sunday Bada and coach Shaibu Amodu (MON) and Chief Mary Onyali eight years ago were in the meeting we had in our office in Nicon Luxury where we drew the concept. Her son, Ivan, was just about a year then.

We had our differences with the NOC and offered to excuse them. We moved on and established our pilot community sports development in Offa, Kwara State. We have received rave review and appreciation from the local community.

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission: We are happy some folks are unhappy that we are making progress and trying to rescue our nation out of the woods of barren medals in the Olympics and using sports to create employment. They had called me on phone hiding their numbers threatening we will soon face the EFCC over the funds we have collected. I told my unanimous caller to quickly proceed and I am ready to put my accounts to public scrutiny.

Not satisfied, they went to recruit a journalist to help them write that Chief Mary Onyali will face EFCC over the funds. We are waiting for the publication. As journalists, we know our rights and limitations. Libel and defamation has made some people rich and in this case, this will not be different.

Issue is, why can’t the journalist and his sponsors face the NSDFI and me, the staff? They are going for a soft target who has agreed and volunteered to help her nation. Until then, we are waiting for the publication. My joy is the medium is a big one whereby judgement costs will be so sweet collecting while the sponsors will enjoy the luxury of dancing naked in the market. Thank God we are all journalists.

Proceed to the EFCC. We shall meet there. Publish like you did the Skoolimpics and see sweet personal and corporate law suits. At least, some lawyers are praying God to provide for their daily bread, this bread will be buttered because it is going to be a fat brief.

We promised our nation will not walk in the rags in the Olympics again and some people are not happy about it because that will mean their end has come for free dole.

Aluta continua. Victoria Asserta.

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