The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) has entered talks with the Heritage Times HT, a notable global media platform to advance the cause of grassroots sports development in the country.
This was disclosed in a press release by Secretary-General of SWAN, Ikenna Okonkwo, following a meeting of the leadership of both organisations in Abuja.
The statement said the meeting was to discuss other areas of partnerships, including finding ways of ensuring that the memory of active and late Nigerian sports icons were preserved through a well-harmonised compendium.
SWAN President, Mr. Isaiah Benjamin, who led a courtesy visit to the Heritage Times HT headquarters in Abuja, commmded its Publisher, Mr. Moses Siloko Siasia, for his determination and enviable contributions in the media which have yielded gainful engagements for teeming Journalists, including sporting media professionals.
“You have continued to manifest as a shining light in both the media industry and other sectors within Nigeria and beyond. We are also aware of so many initiatives he has embarked upon to tap the potentials of young Nigerians. Indeed, such efforts reduce the pressure on the government to engage the young population. We can only urge you not to relent.
“It’s our desire to partner your organisation to do what you ordinarily have passion for in the area of discovery and empowerment of talented Nigerians. And there’s no other better means of engaging the youth meaningful other than using Sports as a tool.
“So, we are ready to go all the way with you and make more impacts across the country,” the President told Mr. Siasia who is also the Chairman of Nigerian Young Professionals Forum (NYPF) and owner of AfriHeritage Magazine.
Responding, Mr. Siasia pledged his readiness to partner SWAN in using sports as a leading employer of labour across the globe to unify Nigerians through timely and regular use of media channels.
He said his organisations were ready to offer the needed support in strengthening the unity of the country through sporting tournaments in the grassroot, especially in identified regions as a way of advocating peace.
He said, “We should be thinking about how we can partner in grassroot football, basketball competitions, sensitisation programmes and other areas of sports.
“This should be open to the vulnerable, people who are exceptionally talented but lack the means. This should be a means to support them to achieve their dreams and aspirations.
“Also, in Niger Delta, North East, South East and other parts of the country, we can use sporting activities to foster unity among the people in these regions prone to crisis. It is tool that brings everyone together in the table of peace so we must not neglect that.
On the proper documentation of the memory of late and living sports legends, Mr. Siasia stated that energy should be deployed in preserving the memories of legends of the 70s, 80s and 90s, adding, “You can do this so that our people can read and study. It is a way preserving their history for the selfless services they offered to our country, the likes of Samson Siasia, Finidi George, Jay Jay Okocha, Kanu Nwankwo, Rashidi Yekini and those before them.
“We are ready to support all efforts to keep their memory alive and this is the best we can do to appreciate them.”
While urging the sports journalists to use their pen to drive awareness and sell the Nigerian brand, especially the national premiership so that it can form a talking point in public discourse, Mr. Siasia tasked the sports journalist to work tirelessly to leave legacy for which they will be remembered for at all times.
On his part, SWAN Secretary-General, Amb. Ikenna Okonkwo, also thanked Mr. Siasia for his burning passion in driving youth development even beyond the shores of Nigeria.