2024: As FCT SWAN election beckons…

Dear colleagues, in the next few days the FCT chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) will be electing a new leadership.

For me, this auspicious occasion is with mixed feelings. One is that the whole crisis in the first place was avoidable and unprofitable.

The second is that it is another golden opportunity for us to rebuild SWAN after the unfortunate and unpleasant war of attrition which almost destroyed the once united and cohesive body.

Let me also state it clearly that this piece is not intended to indict or absolve anybody!

I recall with nostalgia the beautiful association we once had; then colleagues never saw each other on the basis of their tribe or religion but based on the contents of their character and what they knew they could do.

Elections like this used to be more like a carnival because we never bothered about those mundane and banal issues of tribe and religion.

There was a time we had three people from the same tribe emerging as the Chairman, Vice chairman and Secretary.

Expectedly, they equally never ran the association on the lines of the unproductive considerations. Every member got what was his/her due irrespective of the part of the country they came from.

In this same association, we have also had people supporting candidates who were from other parts of the country because they believed in what they offer.

The SWAN of our dream is one that speaks with one voice. I still recall with pride some events that happened in this same FCT SWAN.

Let me recall a few incidents!

Yes, it happened that FCT SWAN had the courage to call some over-excited sports administrators to order when they over stepped their bounds.

Once at Ibro hotel, a certain administrator insulted one of us who only asked him a question during a press conference. Instead of him to respond ow even decline, decided to ask him: “If you think you are that smart why are you not working with CNN”? For us, that insult was rubbed at us all and we wanted to walk out without any dissenting voice. They had to seriously beg us to return for the briefing after the loquacious administrator withdrew his statement with apologies.

The second one was the day another administrator used one of his thugs to threaten one of us at Chida hotel during an event. We didn’t waste any time but to rush to Utako Police Station where reported the case and promptly arrested the thug. They had to beg us before we soft-pedaled. I could go on and on!

That was when it was injury to one meaning injury to all! We can still return to that glorious time.

We must all remember that it will be most unreasonable for us to throw away the friendship we have cultivated over the years on the alter of SWAN leadership which may only last for maximum 6 years.

Now to Tolu, Folusho and KC.
For me each of you is qualified to lead SWAN. You must also remember that only one of you will emerge victorious , therefore the others must know that it is not the end of the world. You must also be ready to serve the association in any capacity the association may deem fit to call upon you.

You must remember that he who must lead must first learn how to serve. In other words, as our chairman, you are the servant -leader.

You must be ready to carry everyone along and PLEASE KILL the ugly past we are about to dash.

As we expect to usher in a new breath, let us campaign clean and contest clean and at the end of the day, SWAN will be the ultimate winner.

May God bless us all.

Jude Opara is the immediate past Secretary-General of SWAN.