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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Journalists Reject Political Plot Against Asaba 2018

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Journalists Reject Political Plot Against Asaba 2018 

By Dantes odogwu

A group of Nigerian sports journalists have rejected proposals by a top politician in Delta State (name withheld) to escalate negative publicity against the on-going Asaba 2018 African Senior Athletics Championships, describing the campaign as bad politics and a disservice to the nation and the government and people of the state.

The plot was uncovered on Thursday morning on which an agent of the politician was said to have invited some journalists to a private home in Asaba and he attempted to induce them to sustain criticisms on the state government and organisers of the championship, playing on the handling of connection flights for athletes from Lagos to Asaba.

The Delta North politician, a three-time member, high-ranked Principal Officer of the State House of Assembly till 2014 and a gubernatorial aspirant in the opposition party was said to have also latched on the minor incident of the collapse of a small water tank at the back end of the stadium to argue that the contractors appointed by Governor Okowa to complete the construction did a bad job and that the former contractor who handled the job under former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan would have done a better job.

The meeting went awry as the journalists judged that they were trying to suck them into a political plot to de-market the event and achievement of the state. They thus walked out and reported the attempt to some of their senior colleagues.
“It was very sad, indeed,” complained one of the journalists who attended the meeting.

“They called a few of us that somebody wanted to address us on the event but when we got to the place, we discovered that wanted to play politics with us. We are sports journalists and not political associates. We are in Asaba to cover the competition and not to play anybody’s politics. The man said they had worked with some other journalists to publicise the lapses on some television stations from last Tuesday with high impact on Thursday morning and wants us in the print media sustain the criticisms through the period of the event.”

Also pictures of collapsed building in Stephen keshi stadium

“Why should we do that? We have been to several international events and none is perfect. It is true that there were hitches and they were well reported but the organisers had also responded with measures to sort things out. Why then should we continue to dwell on them when the games have taken a good shape, the affected athletes have put the issues behind them and are happily competing, the spectators are excited at the spectacle of an international event with delegations of over fifty countries in their town?”

“Governor Okowa has pulled off a major feat by completing the stadium which we know has been a problem for years, to the extent that the former governor resorted to prayers over the abandonment of the project by several contractors.”

“The most curious part is that we discovered the politician even fronted a company that had contract on the stadium but he embezzled the money and abandoned the project and nobody could do him anything because he was a big politician, until Okowa came and reorganised to deliver the project as we have it today. And, rather than being proud of what Delta State has achieved and the multiplier social and economic benefits, not only in hosting the championship but in having a unique stadium by which the NFF is already contemplating the national teams to play in Asaba, he is plotting to undermine the progress of his people for political reasons.”

“Shouldn’t they cover their face with shame after they had severally embezzled money on the stadium for over 15 years and their new governor comes to actualise it within one year? We all know that Okowa committed to completing the stadium in June 2017 and by July 2018 the stadium was ready and now hosting a continental event? How can we disregard this achievement and dwell on a few organizational lapses that have been resolved when we know that the facility is a legacy that will continue to inspire the youth and development of sports.

Source Nairaland forum

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