*You are illegal, unknown to us – National SWAN
*Invites Waheed Oyesile, NUJ President, to her activity
By Adejoke Bamidele, Lagos
Tony Ubani, the head of a group of Sports journalists in Lagos called the Guild of Sports Editors which the national body of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) classified in a release as illegal has responded saying, the volume of goodwill messages we have gotten speaks volume and not a shrill noise from a sleeping body in one corner.
Ubani was reacting to the statement issued on the eve of the maiden edition of the Guild of Sports Editors “Night of Excellence’ holding this evening at the prestigious Pearwort Hotel and Suites in Ikeja, Lagos.
He said, among those who are wishing the best for the event are former NFA Chairman, Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima, who thinks it’s one way to appreciate journalists while they are still living. There were also kind words from former Abia state Governor, Mazi Orji Uzor Kalu, who said but for his tight political and business schedule, he would have been part of the groove. One of the guests invited to the Night is National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Alhaji Abdulwaheed Odusile.
“Onochie Anibeze, who edits the authoritative Weekend Vanguard, simply shouted, “I can’t wait for the night where my colleagues will think good of me while I am alive, it’s an innovation that must be sustained “.
“Ugwumba Uche Nwosu, the Chief of Staff to the Imo State Governor will never stop praising the initiative, describing it as one way not only to acknowledge contributions of past and present generations but to encourage those coming behind.
“Nigeria’s only serving International Olympic Committee Executive Committee member, Engineer Habu Gumel, also speaking, said that the event will indeed be ground breaking. One of the main brains behind the event, Ade Ojeikere of The Nation’s group of newspapers, said he was delighted that journalists are coming to realise that no one will honour them in their graves, despite their nation building capacity in the area of sports.
“On his part, Kunle Solaja, of The Sun newspapers group, said he was proud to be a pioneer member of the group and wishes the occasion the best. “Of course, I will be there live”, he quipped. President General of Nigerian Supporters Club, Dr Rafiu Ladipo would lead his group to lighten the Award. So, where is this other noise coming from?” he said.
Meanwhile, the statement signed by Wale Alabi, the Secretary General National body of Sports Writers Association on Nigeria (SWAN) claimed, the “excellence award nite being organised by a group claiming to be Guild of Sports Editors or League of Sports Editors in partnership with SWAN” is not true. Nothing can be further from the truth. The so-called group is an illegal contraption that is unknown to SWAN and Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ).
“SWAN completely dissociates from such group and individuals behind it as the association has not sanctioned any such group to give awards to unsuspecting members of the public. At best, this is an attempt to frisk some individuals of their hard-earned resources and cast SWAN in bad light.
The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), the umbrella body for all journalists in Nigeria does not recognise such group. We call on members of the public to be wary of such groups who use the name of SWAN and sports journalism to dupe unsuspecting personalities all in the name of giving frivolous awards.