The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Imo State Chapter has alleged that the State’s Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development, Mr. Dan Chike Ogu is the cause of the misfortunes bedevilling sports in the Eastern Heartland and such be either sacked, redeployed or be strongly cautioned by Governor Hope Uzodinma.
The Association made this demand in an 11-point communique raised at the end of its Congress held last Friday, which was signed by Everest Ezihe and Tunde Liadi, Chairman and Secretary of the Association respectively.
According to the Association “As critical stakeholders in the development, growth and transformation of sports, we members of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN, Imo State Chapter, after critical analysis of the disturbing neglect seen in the sports sector in the state, SWAN Imo State is constrained to bring to the notice of His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, the worrying situation and anomalies bedeviling grassroot sports development in the state under the watch of the state Commissioner for Sports, Youth and Social Development, Mr Dan Chike Ogu,” the communique began.
The Sports journalists also observed that: “it’s pertinently disturbing that despite all efforts being put by the state government Shared Prosperity administration and its 3R mantra, it is sad to note that the Sports Commissioner, Mr Dan Ogu is like, he is in a clandestine mission to ensure that Sports in Imo dies under his watch.
“Also following Mr Ogu’s nefarious activities based on our objective investigations, has necessitated SWAN’s clamour for his immediate sack, redeployment or caution and an experienced Sports administrator with passion for Sports development and transformation named in his place.
“Sports apart from its recreational role is also an integral part of government apparatus for social and youth development but against this backdrop, Mr Dan Ogu has completely failed in that direction necessitating Imo SWAN and even other well meaning Imo Sports stakeholders to call for his Immediate resignation, sack, caution or redeployment.”
Imo SWAN allegedly accused the commissioner of deliberate and tactical refusal to meet with all sports associations and coaches of various sports in the state with their athletes since he assumed office in the Ministry despite the exigencies.
The Association also alleged that the Commissioner has penchant for absolute disregard to critical stakeholders, non-tolerance of good advice and suggestions geared towards sports development and transformation in the state.
They further accused him of “getting involved in activities that give room for obvious distractions in the sports sector in the state, thus, aiding and abetting factionalism within the state sports circle.”
They lamented that the Commissioner does not know what to do to inspire the state’s sportsmen and women for optimal performance(s), alleging that he lacks experience, passion and patriotism.
They vehemently criticized the Commissioner for allegedly neglecting other sectors of sports in Imo state and instead focusing all his attention on Heartland Football Club for what they termed an obvious pecuniary interest. These they said have made other sporting activities in the state to be moribund.
Imo SWAN further accused the Commissioner of leaving room for confusion and uncertainties with regard to Imo state’s outing at the forthcoming National Sports Festival, “with little or no activities in terms of preparation”, noting “that is tactically and probably setting up the state for failure in Benin”.
They bluntly decried the alleged underhand practices and undue interferences in the running of Heartland Football Club, usurping the jobs of the GM, protocol, and even media officers. “This is unhealthy for the development of the club and puts the club perpetually on the risk of sanctions from LMC. He is the Sports Commissioner not Heartland management.”
The Association expressed dissatisfaction over the alleged “persistent refusal to interface with and outright neglect/near insults to stakeholders and associations of Sports in Imo State while ignorantly wearing the toga of being expert in all.”
Imo SWAN bluntly accused the Commissioner of gross incompetence as several sectors in the state sports circle are comatose since his assumption of office and no meaningful efforts to resuscitate them. “For instance, the award winning Grasshoppers, Heartland Flickers, Heartland Queens, no Basketball team, track and field sporting events, kick sports and indoor games among others”.
They equally carpeted the Commissioner for not being open nor accessible to information despite its exigency,thus allegedly fuelling suspicion and communication gap which is detrimental to the state government that canvasses the need for openness and all inclusiveness.
“Your Excellency, with due respect and honour, we will not hesitate to boycott cum blacklist the reportage of all sporting activities in the state and ask our national body to direct same if after two weeks as dated in the communique, Imo State Government refused to do the needful as suggested and advised.
“As Patriots and committed professionals, we have nothing personally against the Commissioner but as part of our professional social responsibilities as the watchdog of the society vis-a-vis sports, our resolutions are in the overall interest of the state and posterity” the Press Release concluded.