By Abdulgafar Oladimeji
The president Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN , Honour Sirawoo and his Nigeria Union of Journalists , NUJ counterpart Chris Isiguizo have their lips holed up again in verbal assaults that now constitutes an embarrassment to Nigerian journalism circle , sending shock down the spines of their members, who described their public actions and recent outbursts and counter outburst as denigrating to their noble trade. Kanoreporters.com has gathered.
In the war of words that regenerated, after long silence thought to be the sheath of swords by both camps from the long duel between the visibly long sworn enemies, President Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Sir Honour Sirawo, fired the first fresh salvo, when he said Mr. Chris Isuguzo, his Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) counterpart, “is desperate to ground sports writing in the country.
It is reported that Sirawoo at the SWAN FCT monthly Congress in Abuja said “repeated plans by the embattled outgoing NUJ President have remained unsuccessful due to falsehoods that the Isiguzo administration is known for spreading always.
Media attributions credited to Ikenna Okonkwo
Secretary, SWAN FCT said “The SWAN National leader said the official registration of SWAN followed due process, and that the law under which SWAN operates as a professional body is drawn from the Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), unlike the NUJ which is basically a Trade Union.
“Sir Sirawo also revealed that several attempts by the outgoing NUJ President to muscle SWAN leadership were borne out of greed and selfish interest.” Ikenna reported.
“It’s on record that the reasons for registering SWAN are clearly for operational and administrative efficiency and convenience. SWAN which is a professional body for Sports Writers had encountered challenges in carrying out most of its official engagements (both in Nigeria and internationally) due to no registration with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
“Several challenges have reared their heads in our attempts to officialise SWAN for administrative purposes but lack of official documentation has always stood in our way. How can we be running a noble association like ours without bank accounts? Are we wiser than Bank officials who are insisting on the right thing before we are registered?
“Even when we tried to access the proposed land space for our national secretariat promised us by the Federal Capital Territory Administration some years back, we couldn’t then because this registration was part of the requirements.
“Also, our affiliate body AIPS had asked sports bodies to ensure that they fulfill national registration requirements in each of the countries where they belong.
“In the light of all these reasons, we approached the leadership of NUJ in the spirit of oneness and reached an agreement to register SWAN, after which an official letter for the purpose of registration, was obliged, the documents are available for all to see in case anyone wants to confirm,” the SWAN President said.
Sirawoo further said “As professionals, dignity and honour should be our watchword. Anyone or corporate bodies dealing with persons who fraudulently disguise themselves as SWAN leaders in FCT, other than Ndubueze Chidoka who is the chairman and his dully elected excos is doing so at their own risk.
“When those individuals unknown to SWAN defraud them, they should not blame SWAN at anytime,” he said.
Hell then seemed to have been let lose by the attributions made to Sirawoo at the FCT Congress, which sparked off reactions from the camp of the NUJ President, President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chris Isiguzo, who responded thus, stated that “Honour Sirawo is my very good friend, he’s a Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Sports Rivers state. And, I believe that it is very clear that he’s not a sports writer, he is now an administrator.
“Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have expected anybody talking about him because we are relating very closely with Rivers state government and he’s an official of Rivers state government but because he has decided to dance naked, we also have to clear the air.
“I understand that Leadership newspaper honoured the serving governor of Rivers state, (Nyesom Wike) in Abuja. Expectedly, some officials of the state government had to come and celebrate with their governor that was also the opportunity he had to come and join that celebration but rather than concentrating on the celebrations that brought him to Abuja, he decided to meet with people like him because you must be a sports writer before you even become a member of SWAN, as we speak Sirawo is not a sports writer and is not a member of SWAN.
“Yes, he gathered a few people and went to Cooperate Affairs Commission (CAC) deceived them and got registered as Sports Writers Association of Nigeria incorporated and what that simply means is SWANi not SWAN.
“Some that aligned with him joined him, so, I believed he’s leading a group of people registered with CAMA and called themselves SWANI, SWAN simply means Sports Writers Association of Nigeria and sports writing is not a permanent abode for anybody. If you work with a media house and you are on the sports desk, then you belong to SWAN. Today people who are political editor are masquerading as SWAN member, for the fact that you covered sports 30 years ago does not make you a permanent member of SWAN. At a point, I was also a member of SWAN because I was deeply involved in sports writing but as we speak now I no longer belong to that desk and I cannot continue to parade as a member of SWAN. I want to challenge Sirawo, let him show me where he has written sports in the last 15 years, if he show me that, I will resign as NUJ president. He’s not a member of SWAN anybody he continue to deceive should better watch it.
“I read where he said he went to register SWAN for business purposes, let me tell you that SWAN has been operating account in the past even without registering with CAC. As we speak, SWAN Abuja has a plot of land, they didn’t get it by register with CAMA they’ve been operating SWAN since all these years until a business man from Ogoni found himself in the leadership position deceitfully to take over their leadership. He Concluded.
Reacting, one time national leader of the duo respected bodies, who spoke under the condition of anonymity said “ I am one of those tying to see, if we can mediate into the crisis to save our profession from these two powerful individuals.”
“How can they take themselves this far into this mess, forgetting that they are both national leaders, they are the face of the profession, in Nigeria, guess it is like they have forgotten, how can Sirawoo who has risen and should now be a role model and pride and doyen of sports writing considering his achievements descend so low.
“In all this mess, if there is any one to blame it is Honour Sirawoo, hoeought to be more patient matured more matured and should not have allowed himself to be dragged into this mess.” Sirawoo a sports writer who rise to the level of a super permanent secretary in a super state allowing himself to be dragged into this. Well maybe he lacks good advisers, we as mediators we also find time to speak truth to the SWAN leader, for him to understand why he should take charge and disallow himself from been dragged into all these trash in the name of union politics.”