The
best way to spend Friday was indoors and that is exactly the way I spent it.

Last
time I was in Uyo when the Eagles played against Tanzania I also spent Friday
almost completely indoors and here I was at it again.
Truth
be told there was nowhere to go and nothing to do because I had planned my time
for Friday and all activities on my menu were indoor activities.
First
I had my diary to write then I had to roll out interviews I did with the Eagles
the previous day and of course I thought I could take some time out to write a
few chapters of my book I’ve been working on for the last five years.
I
successfully had breakfast in bed, rolled out a few stories but unfortunately
did not have the brains to add anything to my book.
I
was here for a football match and I wanted to stay with the football.
I
can continue on the book when I get to Port Harcourt.
But
Emeka Dennar and Benson Clement came visiting and we just talked about everything
possible from our personal lives to our jobs as journalists.
I
gave them some education on how to do their jobs better as journalists and as I
spoke with them I realized one thing- the younger generation need to spend more
time with some of us who have been in this for much longer because there is a
lot to learn.
Just
last week I met with Ejiro Omonede and Mitchel Obi in Lagos and it was exciting
just sitting with them and listening to them.
As
a secondary school student in the early 80s I voraciously read Mitchel Obi’s
back page sports on The Guardian Newspapers.
I
never missed Sunday Guardian because I knew Mitchel would give me all the league
results from the previous day.
Then
I would buy Observer Newspaper to get the full match report for Bendel
Insurance and NNB’s games.
I
would also buy Tribune Newspaper to get the match report for IICC Shooting
Stars’ game.
I
would still ask my vendor to give me Chronicle Newspapers to get the match
report of the game Calabar Rovers played.
The
Nigerian Tide, as it was called then would give me the match report for the
Sharks game.
So
between all these newspapers I would make a compilation of all the games played
in the weekend including goal scorers and all.
As
a twelve year old in secondary school, I do not think anyone had a
comprehensive league round up as I did, but that’s me blowing my trumpet once
again.
But
I think the younger generation should stick with some of us. There is a lot
they can learn, just like we learned and are still learning today.
The Port Harcourt
invasion
The
group of journalists from Port Harcourt would once again want to stay in the
same hotel as I did and they had asked me to reserve some rooms for them.
I
had tried to lock down ten extra rooms apart from the 4 we took yesterday, but
the manager of the place said she could only reserve six.
I
soon got a call from Ekine Moseph who worked with The Port Harcourt Microscope
to say he was in the hotel.
No,
he wasn’t on my list because he didn’t tell me anything about making a reservation
but I hooked him up anyway.
Suddenly
it seemed as if everyone wanted to stay in that hotel.
The
delegation from Port Harcourt had about ten people and then there were
journalists coming from Abuja and Lagos who wanted to stay in the same place.
I
was just worried about my people from Port Harcourt and if they’ll still have
rooms kept for them.
Eventually
they turned up and it seemed the hotel had rooms for everyone who wanted to
stay there.
Watching the
Eagles train
Super Eagles’ John Ogu poses with a fan

Six
o clock was the time for accreditation and we were ready to go at 4pm

Then
we postponed to 4:30pm because we thought we would eat first but eventually
drove straight to the stadium were we were able to at least catch the Eagles
train.
After
the training session, the players took out time to meet with fans and take
pictures which was good.
I
for one has always felt that the players should be closer to their fans, but
overzealous Nigerian police would never let that happen, but seeing players
like Alex Iwobi, John Ogu, Troost Ekong, Mikel Obi, Brown Ideye and the rest mingle
with the fans showed things were getting better, I mean the relationship
between fans and players.
The disgrace of
the Uyo based journalists
At
six o clock we waited for Ademola Olajire to show up but heard he sent Ayo
Ibadapo rather.
Ayo
turned up a bit late but we were out of there much sooner than later.
But
I had my reservations about what happened there.
As
soon as Ayo came around, the journalists swarmed around him as if they wanted
to suffocate him and I thought that was not on.
I
had to ask them, a bit angrily though to give him some space since he was
reading names out of a list and as long as you applied for accreditation you
would get your tag.
They
only moved away but shortly after, swarmed around him again.
I’ve
always thought that journalists should be able to set examples for others to
follow and not act like we do not deserve to be called the watch dogs of
society.
Were
we really the watch dogs of society?
We
went to search for dinner ground and found a place called Flavour Kitchen and I
swear the white soup (Afiyefere), chicken and wheat was made in heaven.
I
grubbed mine like I was about to serve a prison sentence for life and that
would be my last meal on the outside.
I
must confess this joint was recommended to me by Saatah Nubari, the only good
thing he has done for me in three years.
We
retired to our hotel to hear that Ayo Ibidapo was almost physically assaulted
by some people thought to be Uyo based journalists.
Apparently
some journalists based in Uyo who did not apply for accreditation got violent,
physically assaulted Ayo and snatched the accreditation tags from him.
I
was told by a person who saw what happened and then by Ayo himself that he was
pushed around and threatened. I heard it got ugly until Honour Sirawoo, the
President of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN intervened.
It
was very disgraceful coming people who claim to be watch dogs of society.



the chairman of the Uyo Council of SWAN, however told me that the blame fell on the NFF people for deciding to hold the exercise in an open space rather than in a confined area.


According to him it wasn’t journalists that assaulted Ayo but thugs, a explanation that did not go down well with the NFF man.
I’m
going to have a word with Honour Siraoo on that shameful incident which must
not be allowed to happen again.

We
are journalists, not thugs

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here