Proprietor of Sports Radio Brilafm, Dr. Larry Izamoje (left), receiving his award from AIPS Africa President, Mitchel Obi and Guild of Sports Editors’ President, Tony Ubani, at the Night of Excellence held in Lagos…on Tuesday.
They came from across the country to rub minds, reminisce on what Nigerian sports used to be and also proffer solutions to the problems dogging the sector’s development.
It was the maiden Guild of Sports Editors’ Night of Excellence and the veterans, some of who witnessed and reported Nigerian sports at its very best, were present at the Realwort Hotel and Suites, Agidingbi, Ikeja, to share their experiences with the current crop of sports reporters and editors of the major media houses.
Leading the way were Dr. Larry Izamoje, who owns the first all-sport radio broadcasting organization in Nigeria, Mr. Mitchel Obi, who is the African president of the world body for sports journalists, AIPS, Managing Director of Complete Communications, publishers of Complete Sports newspapers, Mumini Alao, President General of the Nigeria Supporters Club, Rauf Ladipo and King of Sports, Kunle Solaja, who is the current General Manager, Publications, of The Sun newspapers.
Also at the event were Taye Ige, whose HM Media Group owns the biggest private broadcast studio in Nigeria, Tony Nezianya, who recently retired from the News Agency of Nigeria as a director, Chief of Staff to Imo State Governor, Ugwumba Uche Nwosu, who was represented by the Liaison Officer at the state’s Lagos house, Nze Steve Asimobi, and Paul Ogazi of the NTA fame, as well as tennis legend, Godwin Kienka. There were also SuperSport West Africa General Manager, Felix Awogu, FIFA Match Commissioner, Paul Bassey and Emeka Obasi of the New Telegraph.
The night was originally meant to celebrate the veteran journalists and others, who also contributed to the development of Nigerian sports, but it soon became an avenue to x-ray the ills of the sector and ways to reposition the country among the elite of world’s sports nations.
“We believe that what the Editors are doing will impact positively on the editorial contents of their media and in turn bring positives to Nigerian sports,” the Imo State Chief of Staff said.
He advised all stakeholders in Nigerian sports to always think of how to contribute to the development of the sector rather than indulging in bickering and other selfish acts that affect the growth of the industry.
Mitchel Obi, who frowned at attempts by some individuals to scuttle the Night of Excellence, said sports can generate employment for 50 per cent of the Nigerian youth if well managed.
He added, “I have the responsibility to protect every journalist that protects the ethics of the profession. We have the responsibility to protect sports journalism to the best of our ability.
“I have to say here that there is a clear distinction between a sports journalist and a sports writer. We at AIPS encourage everybody that has interest in protecting sports journalism and I believe the Sports Editors Guild is in good stead to push SWAN to get to the required level.”
Earlier, president of the Guild of Sports Editors, Tony Ubani, had dismissed the insinuation that the guild was out to hijack the leadership of sports journalism in Nigeria.
He said, “We are here to push sports journalism forward. We will encourage everybody that has anything to offer SWAN to endeavor to do that.