A university lecturer, Professor Peter Esuh says the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) is a major stakeholder in sports development and by extension, a major stakeholder in nation-building.
Professor Esuh stated this in a paper titled â€œSports Development And Nation Building: The Role Of SWANâ€ presented at the opening ceremony of the 54th National Full Council Meeting of SWAN holding in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
According to him, â€œto understand the role of SWAN in nation building, we must appreciate our developmental strides and acknowledge sports indices to nation-building.
â€œThe mainstay of Sports Writers Association in nation building must be assessed from its role in the overall development of sports in the area of partnership with local, state, federal and private concerns, contribution to sports policy development, professional and ethical issues, sports institutions, sporting infrastructure, sports programmes, facilities, funding, promotion and regulation of sports/regulatory institutions and enabling laws.â€
He stressed that the association has brought about the development and transformation of sports in Nigeria, especially in relation to employment, wealth and revenue generation for media houses, individuals, sports stakeholders and government.
Esuh, who is also a Professor of Marketing Communications And Applied Rhetoric in the Department of Communication Arts, University of Uyo explained that SWANâ€™s activities have had direct and indirect bearing on the economy of Nigeria, in addition to helping to fight corruption in high places and exposing decay in our sporting polity.
He advocated for policies, laws and programmes that will protect sports journalists, among others.
â€œThere should be enabling laws to protect the sports journalist and sports generally. The SWAN in partnership with the National Assembly should come up with a bill to establish a University of Sports in Nigeria. Sports has been identified as the second largest employer of labour and creator of wealth, establishing such a university as is found in the UK, India, United States etc., will expand the horizon of knowledge, impact on sports development and the general well- being of the country.
â€œInstitutions of higher learning especially the universities should be encouraged to establish departments of sports, not necessarily physical and health education. Such will lead to the production of adequate manpower, infrastructure, facilities and a better standard of sports journalism.
â€œIt behoves to insist that the sports journalist needs better working environment and welfare package; and encouragement from the industry to do well. There should be an increased budgetary allocation to sports, and a serious drive for private investment,â€ he stated.
He summed up by saying that â€œthe vibrancy of our youth can properly be engineered through sports and sports journalism and those who are concerned with the propagation of sports are doing a great service to the internal and external reputation management of this country, such people should be rewarded appropriately.â€
The President of SWAN, Mr Honour Sirawoo in his speech said the growth of SWAN depends largely on the support it gets from patrons while stressing that the present leadership of SWAN has worked hard to leave legacies that will enhance the quality of sports journalism.
He stated that the meeting will take stock of actions of the SWAN leadership so as to engender further growth.