By Samuel Udoma
A strong case has been put forward on the need for sports writers to harness the mechanisms of their crafts towards boosting socio-econonic investment as well as drive social engineering in the country.
These among other salient propositions were contained in the goodwill message delivered by the Honourable Commissioner for Environment and Petroleum Resources, Akwa Ibom state, Rt Hon (Dr) Ekong Sampson yesterday at the Thanksgiving/ Reception Service of the newly inaugurated executive of the Sport Writers Association of Nigeria, (SWAN), Akwa Ibom state.
Dr Sampson, himself, one of the founding fathers of SWAN in the state, in his speech paid tribute to the long, winding journey of the body since 1988 when himself and the immediate past NUJ Chairman, Elder Patrick Albert met and compared notes on how to bring Sport Writers body into the state, expressing his satisfaction at the current status of the body which has seen it become a key stakeholder in the sports industry not only in Nigeria but the world at large.
According to the erstwhile pioneer SWAN PRO, sports had since moved beyond the usual entertainment and spectacle and has now morphed into a multi billion dollar industry the world over, and as such sports writers in their crafts should be involved in the kind of reportage that can help open up these new vistas of economic investments, most especially in Akwa Ibom state, whom he believed has always had ‘a huge pool of talents waiting to be tapped’.
In his words, Dr Sampson addressed the sports loving gathering:
“I am very happy to see SWAN in good health today. Between 1988 and now, a lot water has gone under the bridge and so much has changed in the industry positively.
Today, I am here to celebrate the numerous milestones recorded by SWAN and I have been very clear in my advice that practitioners must use sport reportage to drive investment because sport has since moved from mere entertainment to big business.
There are a lot of harvests to be reaped from the industry and the new challenge now is how we can begin to see sports from this prism of big business because trajectories are changing and we must be ready to flow with these new tides”, he added.
Barr. Sampson, now a veteran in the journalism profession first cut his teeth in the industry as a young, undergraduate sports writer in the mid 1980s reporting for The Tides and The Nigerian Chronicle in Calabar.
He has remained a major backer of the industry in the state and was last year awarded a distinguished Ambassador of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Akwa Ibom state.
The 2020 SWAN Thanksgiving was attended by some of the big wigs in the Akwa Ibom state sports industry including the Honorable Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Sir Monday Uko, Senior Special Assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel on Sports and Chairman of Akwa United FC, Elder Paul Bassey, Chairman of Dakkada FC, Coach Aniedi Dickson, Director of Sports, Akwa Ibom, Coach Lawrence Iquaibom, NUJ Chairman, Comrade Amos Etuk and a host of other distinguished personalities.