FROM = EVEREST EZIHE, Owerri
Worried by the recent lackadaisical attitude of most sports administrators in Imo State, towards the global order in sports development, growth and transformation, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN Imo State chapter has written to Governor Hope Uzodimma on the sorry state of sports development in the state and the ways forward.
SWAN which members pride themselves as critical stakeholders in sports development and transformation disclosed this in a 2 paged communique they issued immediately after their last month well attended Congress meeting held at Dan Anyiam Stadium Complex and endorsed by the State Chairman, Rotn. Everest Ezihe.
The association expressed worries over the running of sports and coverage of sporting activities in the state and therefore urged the state government to check the dismal performances of Heartland FC in the ongoing Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL campaign and that of its appendages in the lower division.
They also noted with dismay the attitude of the Youth and Sports Commissioner, Hon Chike Dan Ogu towards members of the professional association in the area of media relationship and passionately advised him on the need to make the necessary adjustment by according the body and its members the statutory respect they earned in their dogged but sacrificial efforts towards the growth and development of sports in the Eastern Heartland State.
The body further frowned at the persistent ill reportage of the events of the state government especially as it concerns Sports, taking into cognizance that it is the statutory duty of SWAN to report sports around the country. This, the Association again blamed the Commissioner for sidelining her members by unnecessarily hording relevant information from them and often using quacks as media aides.
Imo SWAN expressed disgustment that the just concluded maiden edition of the National Para -Games in Abuja, the state contingent were placed 6th in the competition final table with 59 medals which consist of 16 gold, 25 silver and 18 bronze medals. This in all honesty was no mean feat, unfortunately, they were under reported because members of the professional association was as usual totally sidelined and as such Imo people and the global community were robbed the opportunities of appreciating the para-athletes who did the state proud.
Probably due to selfishness and administrative ineptitude by those concerned they unfortunately never received the full credit for their heroic and gallant outing.
The body as a matter of compassion, passionately appealed to Governor Uzodimma to handle as a matter of exigency the issues surrounding the state’s darling football club, Heartland FC of Owerri which borders on the welfare of the team, their playing pitch and residential camp.
The Association further considered it necessary for the Governor to beam its searchlight on the various sporting Associations which have almost gone moribund with exception of one or two sporting Associations due to the dissolution of the sports Associations by the Imo state Ministry of Sports even as SWAN in the state also frowns at the almost total neglect of other sports which have the potential of putting the state on the world map and the Association urges the state government on the absolute need to create enabling environment for the overall motivation of other sports and to ensure funds are available for them to attend competitions within and outside the state.
Imo SWAN members also expressed dismay at the inability of the Heartland FC Under 15 team to attend the ongoing NPFL/La Liga Promises in Ikenne, Ogun State citing financial constraints after qualifications.
Obviously, this unpopular action and costly mistake have inadvertently been deprived the state’s youths the ample opportunity to fraternize with their peers from other states and also denied the golden chance for their talents to be spotted and exposed.