Minister visits UNILAG with kiss of love


…Condemns ‘copy cat’ journalists


Barely few months of fury at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) over the renaming of the institution to Moshood Abiola University by President Goodluck Jonathan, Sports Minister, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, visited the university recently with smiles on his face.

Abdullahi, an alumnus of the university, visited the institution with a kiss of love, as he ran into the embrace of the Vice Chancellor, Prof Rahman Bello and other principal officers. The minister addressed both staff and students of Mass Communication department at the Afe Babalola Auditorium on the topic, Sport Journalism and National Development. Abdullahi lashed out at some journalists, whom he described as ‘copy cats’.

According to him, they practise easy journalism by downloading stories from the internet and promoting them on newspaper pages. He urged reporters to shun such practices to remain a credible watchdog. Speaking on the power of the media, he explained that the media had blurred the line between fantasy and reality by translating top sport stars like Lionel Messi, Usain Bolt, Tiger Woods, Didier Drogba and Nwankwo Kanu into familar global icons, something that could not have happened without the media. Abdullahi noted that top-flight leagues in the world have gained popularity among their fans through the media, as he underlined the significance of media to sports development.

He said, “to understand how vital the media is to sports development, one must imagine what sports would be today without the media. Let us imagine for a moment that the next El-Classico match between football giants, Real Madrid and Barcelona, at the evocative arena Santiago Bernabeu, and other subsequent matches to be played against other clubs in the Spanish La-liga this season, the management of the two clubs decide to shun the global media that has turned them into global brands and opt instead to announce the match via a small signpost placed at the stadium’s entrance. We can imagine the immediate consequence of such a decision.” Abdullahi also said the sale of broadcasting and media rights was the biggest source of revenue for most sports associations and federations.

With such funds, renovation of stadia could be undertaken, while major sporting events would be organised to contribute to the development of sports at the grassroot. He argued that asides conducting seminars and workshops with the aim of fashioning out strategies to develop the sports, the media could also contribute to sports journalism by pushing for good governance and ethics in sports administration and fight racism and corruption. However, Abdullahi attributed the dearth of sport journalism in the country to the decline in the performance of the national sports, including football.

He prevailed on the media to polish the image of the national sports, not compromising in its responsibility as well, in order to lift sports in the country to loftier heights. He said: ”Most corporate organisations are not in business to develop sports.

They would only invest in sports if doing so would help boost their businesses. And, perhaps the primary benefit they will derive from sponsoring sport activities is the positive media they would get,” The media must not compromise its responsibility of holding sports administrators at all levels accountable and they must continue to preach the best practices”.

The minister warned the media to desist from sensationalism and the obsession with negative and stories, describing such methods as counter-productive. He charged gentlemen of the Press to consolidate their mutual relationship with sports to allow for swift development. “It is clear that the relationship between the media and sports is like a Catholic marriage.

No matter what happens, divorce is not allowed,” he said. He was presented an award for his dedication and services to the alumni association by Tunde Fadahunsi, a lawyer. Other speakers at the event were Prof Ralph Akinfeleye, Chairman of Mass Communication and Prof Omololu Soyombo, the Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences. Oluwaseyi is a 300 level student of Mass Communication, UNILAG

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