By Amaechi Agbo
The minister of Sports and Youths Development, Bar Solomon Dlung has charged sports journalists to promote peace and unity through their reportage.
The minister gave the charge on Friday during Award Night organised by Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN, FCT Chapter.
Bar Dalung who extolled journalism as a tool for fostering unity and development, said that Nigeria is blessed with abundant talents and potentials adding that Nigeria’s failure to win medals in world athletic events is a deliberate act not to win as it cannot be attributed to lack of potentials.
“I wish to thank the family for the support we have been enjoying for the past two years. I have argued consistently that the major challenges in sports administration is not the absence of wisdom, it is not even the absence of long grammar but it is the absence of a leadership that engages everybody along. The moment the gap is created, you can only be giving lip service to sports administration. There is
nothing mechanical about sports administration; there is nothing unique about it. Administration is administration and it is all about human beings.
“Nigerians must recognise the fact that we are a people and if we are a people, we must be proud of ourselves. And if we are proud of ourselves, we will love our country and if we love our country, we must do justice to all. If we are doing justice to all, we will live peacefully and if we are living peacefully, development will come. Therefore, I urge you to use your pen to promote peace and unity.
“Nigeria is a country given to us by God. God in his infinite wisdom gave us almost everything. You cannot give us anything in this country. So if we have decided to go for international competition and return without medals, I consider it a deliberate decision of Nigerians but certainly not the absence of skills to medals. There is nothing lacking in this country. We must exploit our potentials, we must express our potentials and we must present our potentials.
“That Nigeria is doing well in sports is as a result of the collective efforts of the stakeholders. I have to congratulate us for the support we have given our teams.
“I want to urge the elite association, the SWAN FCT, you are pacesetters. Despite
the fact that you maybe young, you have set the pace and dictated the tune of event in the association. You must continue to play that role. You must also continue to ensure that this country unites, develops and progresses. I thank you very much for this opportunity,” the minister said.
The SWAM Award Night was organised to recognise and appreciate individuals, stakeholders and journalists who have contributed variously in the development of sports in FCT in particular and Nigeria generally.
Among the recipients of the awards was former NFF President and proprietor Fosla Academy, Alhaji Sani Lulu. Alhaji Lulu described the award as a motivation and thanked SWAN for recognising his little contribution to the development of sports in the country.
On the chances of Super Eagles in Russia World Cup, the former NFF boss was philosophical saying that Nigeria has a brighter future under President Mohmmadu Buhari.
“Nigerians are happy in what is happening in the country and everybody is eager to work. To contribute not basically because of the money but because of love and the enabling environment that is being created. We must give credit to Mr President, Mohmmadu Buhari for this great work that God is using him to do.
“Everybody is happy working under the system. We are united and peace is coming back again. You can see the love for one another and when this environment is enhanced and sustained, Nigeria has all it takes to excel in anything in the world. I believe that in no distant future, if we sustain what the president is dreaming about, I think Nigeria with be greater,” he concluded.
Our criticisms are for corrections – SWAN President
Expressing his gratitude to the recipients for honouring the award, the outgoing SWAN FCT Abuja Prseident, Mr Kayode Adeniyi, appreciated the awardees, especially the Honourable Minister of Youths and Sports, Bar Solomon Dalung and other dignitaries for gracing the occasion.
“We came, we saw and we have done our own. What we are doing is to ensure that SWAN as a family has a way of socialising and entertaining themselves apart from the regular press briefing and assignments.
“Today marked another excellent day in the history of FCT SWAN. We have been able to gather the stakeholders, the administrators and the people we report every day. To tell them that this is another part of us that is human.
“If we have story against you, we are not trying to kill you or bury you. What we are doing is to correct some of those things you are doing in order to bring them out and correct them.
“By this we have succeeded in bringing them out of office to show them the other side of us and you could see the Honourable Minister dancing with the dignitaries and SWAN members. We are also able to appreciate some of those people that have made impact in FCT sports council. The woman that has distinguished herself apart from all the directors we have had in the past 10 years in the FCT. We have the chairman and proprietor of Fosla Academy too. This is just to tell them that apart from those criticisms, we also appreciate them for what they are doing and that is the essence of the Award Night. We also appreciated our members so that others will do more to get the award next year,” he said.
In what appeared to be his valedictory speech rehearsal, the President apologised to anybody in the association whose decisions they might not have liked. Adding that as a leader, decision making is cardinal no matter how wrong or right they maybe. He further charged the SWAN members to expand their scope of reportage to bring grassroots sports to the limelight.
“In the past 6 years, I have tried my best. I have done some things that people do not like; took decisions that might not have had majority support. But as a leader, you must take a decision whether it is wrong or right. On that, I must apologise to people who are not happy with certain decisions that I took. But they should also know that when you wear the shoes, you know where it pains.
“As a leader, you have a frame of mind to take decisions and when you take them, there are bound to be reactions and different views. Because of this, I am sorry.
“Apart from that, I am leaving a SWAN that people will be proud of. When I took over six years ago, SWAN was not like this. I have done my best and I believe the people who will take over will take up from there.
“The problem we are having is that all of us are covering NFF, minister, and Super Eagles. We believe that that is our calling but I tell you, that is not our calling. We are FCT SWAN just as we have SWAN Jos, SWAN Katisna and so on. We need to develop sports from the grassroots and the best effective way to develop grassroots sports is reportage. It is true that our grassroots sports in the FCT are underreported. We need to go back to our root and be conscious of the need to effectively report grassroots sports in the FCT,” he concluded.
In the award categories, FCT Sports Director, Chief Mrs Dilichukwu Onyedinma was honoured with Sports Personality of the year award.
Other awardees are: FCT sports Developer of the year, Alhaji Sanni Lulu Abdulahi, 2017 FCT Grassroots Promoter of the year – Olympics medalist, Chika Chukwumerije; 2017 FCT radio journalist of the year – Udeme George; 2017 FCT journalist of the year TV – Ayodeji Makinde; 2017 FCT journalist of the year (Print) – Kola Daniel; 2017 FCT Athlete of the year – Rosemary Chukwuma and 2017 FCT team of the year – FCT U-17 female handball team.