Today is the day before the
big game and all our thoughts were on what happens on the match day,
well, at least some of us who were here for the actual football.
Day was packed already. For me
it would be breakfast first, then go to George Essien’s Workshop
for aspiring sport journalists and teach on how to report Nigerian
sports. I also had plans to go collect my accreditation tag, binge on
movies, go out and eat dog meat porridge, return, binge on more
movies, be part of a party, finish off, then binge on more movies
before Saturday when we play South Africa.
You know it is easy to plan
but mother nature and life tells you she has her own plans, right?
First thing I did when I got
up from bed pretty early was to put up blog posts and videos.
Miyen Akiri came to me asking
for sound clips from the press conference and I let him have them.
Miyen trying to grab some Pork
While doing that he told me he
watched a video and noticed we had “abundance” of palm wine and
pork. He was in luck. There was still some in the fridge and the pork
chops were not finished yet so he grabbed the rest.
Suddenly I heard a knock on my
door and when I opened up it was one of the guys from Lagos, I think
Kingsley who said he had just watched a video and didn’t know we
also had pork.
Kingsley shared the palm wine
the previous day in my room but did not know we had pork.
I told him he was seven
minutes late as Miyen had grabbed the rest of it. He soon dashed off.
Where he went or what he did thereafter, I do not know.
I soon fixed up a cup of
coffee, Benson Clement from Radio Nigeria, Port Harcourt had knocked
on my door to deposit six loaves of bread and a tin of sardines and
that was breakfast.
Emeka Dennar stopped by and we
just chatted.
At 8:30 I was ready to leave
since my class would be 9 o clock and if I was going to teach young
journalists to be maestros, then the least I could do would be to
first let them know the importance of punctuality.
At the GIE Lecture
Ufuoma’s car had to be fixed
so we met him outside with his mechanic and they dropped us off at
the venue of the event, the NUJ Press Center at Information Drive.
Only three out of the nine
students were there when I arrived.
It was a nice time out sharing
my experiences with them since 1980 till present day. Question time
over and we were done.
of the Port Harcourt contingent
So I was taking a nap when my
phone started buzzing. From the names showing on my screen I knew the
Port Harcourt contingent had arrived.
There were Gabriel Nwanetanya
of the Tide, Olalekan Ige of Independent Monitor, Sopriala Bobmanuel
of RSTV, Moseph Ekine of Nigeria Football Plus, Carl Orakwue of
Garden City Radio, Sanipe Damiete, Okey Onwugbonu, Benjamin Okenna
Sawadinho, Faith Oluchi, Jessica Amadi, Martins Giadom, Jim Udede,
Tonye Orabere, Peter Abaje and maybe a few others I may have missed.
After they took their rooms we
went out for lunch and while there, got information that
accreditation tags were being issued at the Super Eagles hotel but
would be continued at the Stadium so we returned to our hotel, picked
up our colleagues and headed to the stadium where we saw the crowd of
sports journalists coming for the game.
was great
Now the journey to lunch was a
great story on its own. We had a bus load of people, Myself, Lekan
Ige, Ufuoma Egbamuno, Sanipe Damiete, Gabriel Nwanetanya, Lekan Ige,
Benjamin Sawadinho Okenna, Carl Orakwue, Benson Clement, Tonye
Orabere and Okey Onwugbonu and we thought, lets go get the dog
porridge then grab some lunch.
After driving around Uyo and
not see a sign post that said there was dog porridge ready and the
directions given to us not clear enough we decided to jettison that
idea and look for a proper meal.
We decided on Flavour kitchen,
recommended to us by Saatah Nubari last time we were here.
Flavour kitchen, since 1977
We also hear that place has
existed since 1877, wow!!!
After the meal it was time to
pay and leave for the stadium. We had barely driven off when Tonye
Orabere exclaimed that he had left his mobile phone on the table and
we all began to tease him as Gabriel, who was driving was trying to
make a U-turn back to the restaurant.
The loudest was Benjamin
Sawadinho Okenna who went on and on teasing Tonye and Sanipe in turn
teased Sawadinho that he would have in turn forgotten his room keys
if he had come with them.
Sawadinho laughed and said he
didn’t even come with his room keys any way and continued to tease
Tonye for forgetting his handset.
As we returned to Flavour
kitchen, Emeka Dennar alighted from the bus and saw the mobile phone,
picking it up, I sighted the sales girl running towards him from
inside the restaurant seemingly pointing at him.
My first thought was that she
just saw a random person picking up a phone and wanted to stop him
but we were wrong.
She was actually running
towards the bus to return some one’s hotel room keys, forgotten
after eating.
Guess who it was that forgot
his room key? Benjamin Okenna Sawadinho of Supersport.
In any case, we went to the
stadium and there I met with Shina Okeleji, Tola Badekale, Femi
Adetula and a whole lot of other people as most of the discussion was
bordered on what was special about this game that had generated so
much interest from Nigerians and the sporting media.
Olalekan Ige told me he had
already purchased forty tickets for his friends who would fly in from
Lagos on Match Day morning, just to watch the game and go back to
Lagos and there were people calling from all over the country making
inquiries about the game and how to get tickets as well as hotel
So what was it about the
Eagles this time that every one wanted to watch?
The pre-match press conference
held in an over crowded room, first the South Africans and then then
Nigerians with Imama Amapakabo and Ogenyi Onazi present.
After that our tags were
collected and it was back to the hotel for the next phase.
party everywhere
It seemed like a carnival
atmosphere in Uyo. A lot of people were talking about the game
between Nigeria and South Africa but many more where talking about
one party or the other.
A whatsapp group had planned
to party till they drop and members were in Uyo in their numbers and
the third question they mostly asked after introduction and knowing
you are part of the whatsapp group was always, “Shey you dey come
for the party?”
I had spoken about hosting my
friends from Port Harcourt who were interested to a meal of dog
porridge on Friday afternoon and only Emeka Dennar and Tonye Orabere
were interested as well as Tobi Adepoju were but that did not hold
anymore due to logistics reasons.
The Rivers Sports journalists’ hangout
Finally, Lekan Ige had
informed on the Port Harcourt sports journalists whatsapp group that
he would host all of us to a night groove of fish pepper soup and
drinks, a cause I donated 4 litres of palm wine to.
So the people around me were
not going to write any pre-match reports or match previews on Friday
night but would be partying till they drop.
All thirty rooms were taken in
our hotel, a mixture of the Port Harcourt press, Lagos, Jane from
Enugu and Andrew Randa from Minna.
From eight o clock folks were
out in groups discussing their movement to whatever party they were
going to attend but we just stayed put because we had our own thing
coming up.
Jessica Amadi and Faith
Oluchi, however went for the Whatsapp party while Emeka Dennar killed
two birds with one stone. Stayed for ours, then left midway for the
other one.
It is time to crash. We have a
big game on Saturday. Hopefully, the Eagles win or all these parties
would count for nothing.
Sipping some coconut juice after the lecture

When i punished Faith Oluchi at the hotel for being rude to me
Lekan Ige turning over some palm wine for Ekine Moseph
Breakfast of champions 


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