Sports comatose in Anambra — Odikpo •Tasks sports writers in the state

By Pamela Eboh on December 14, 2021

Veteran journalist Emeka Odikpo has described sports as comatose in Anambra State, saying that successive governments in the state failed to sustain the standard.

Delivering a lecture, weekend, during a gala night to mark the end of a three days event in celebration of Anambra State Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) Week, Odikpo called on sports writers to challenge government with their write-ups.

He urged them to be bold, fearless and forget about white or brown envelope, saying: “We have grown beyond that. Journalists are the watchdog of the society. We are the Master of Ceremony, hence we should be in charge. Be the drivers of sports in Anambra, opinion moulders, agenda setting; be in the fore front, be yourself.

“I want a vibrant SWAN in Anambra State. You have not done enough. Enough is not press release. The essence of your job here as a sports journalist is sports development. Don’t be afraid to succeed.

“Do your work professionally. Journalist is a pace setter. if you want to excel as a journalist, create fear.”

Odikpo, who is a known football commentator with Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), wondered where football clubs like Udoji, Jasper, Gabros, which where all owned by Anambra indigenes have gone to.

He explained that the absence of those clubs in the frontline is evidence that the glory of sports has left the state. While wondering why Anambra is yet to sponsor sports festival after Imo in 1998, he insisted that journalists have reneged on their core duties of getting government to perform their duties.

“Why was the FIFA Goal Project for Anambra State abandoned at Amansea? What was the reason? We need to be pace setters, opinion moulders, drivers of sports in Anambra,” Odikpo said.

He challenged government to live up to expectations and stop blaming journalists for paying more attention to foreign matches than local ones, saying that the European leagues create news worthy stories that draw attention.

In his speech, the Chairman, Anambra State Sports Development, Chief Tony Oli, said that sports development improved greatly under Governor Willie Obiano administration. He said that government succeeded in the area of sports by using the shaming approach which includes, driving sports programmes in secondary schools in the state and initiating new ones like rugby.

Oli challenged sports writers to quit talking about foreign players and begin to promote the home based players, especially the upcoming ones.

“Our story is one of coming from nowhere and getting somewhere. We have not gotten there yet but I believe we can sustain it.

“Part of the work I’m doing day and night is to ensure the finals of academicals will be played in the new stadium,” the chairman added.

He also said that the all secondary school games will commence in January 2021 before the hand over to a new government.

On his part, the state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Francis Ekpone, urged the state governor to expedite action to ensure that the stadium is completed within record time as a legacy project.

He also appealed to SWAN members to endeavour to be part of the January 16 election for the election of new executive officers for the state chapter of the NUJ.

•PHOTO: Odikpo

Source Daily Sports

Posted December 14, 2021


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