Sports Journalists versus Kano Pillars FC: Matters Arising

By Abdulgafar Oladimeji

I have read with dismay the press statement issued by our great association, SWAN Kano chapter, regarding Kano Pillars FC and its media recalcitrant technical crew led by coach Abdul Maikaba. I harbor pains over how one of the best football tacticians, well-traveled and exposed, Abdul Maikaba, allowed himself to be dragged into the center of the brouhaha with sports journalists in Kano.

Maikaba has not acted differently anyway; he is only toeing the path of those before him, like Salisu Yusuf, Ladan Bosso, Okey Emordi, and Babaganaru, maybe with the exception of Kadiri Ikhana, who sometimes also would not hesitate to display his other side too, often too.

These coaches and their paymasters, during their heydays with the Kano darling side, preferred working with journalists based in Abuja or Lagos, creating the feeling that SWAN Kano members were second-class journalists. Then and today, no SWAN Kano member enjoys direct access to Kano Pillars coaches or players; you had to rely on second-hand interviews. 

The players were mentored to see journalists as their potential destroyers, creating such a hoax psyche in their camp to shield the world from the truth about their fraudulent dealings with players, who had their salaries shared with some coaches and officials. They didn't want the players to disclose the Alibaba surrounding the transfer and sign-on deals associated with their movements in naira and in foreign currency without accountability.

Kano FA, which would have helped the state government unravel the lack of transparency in the activities of the club, is suffering from a one-man show, under Sharu Rabiu Inuwa Ahlan, and lack of a functional secretariat, which solely should represent the interest of the state government, is fast asleep under the supervision of one Shehu Buhari, who had failed to use his executive powers, for reasons best known to him.

Veteran journalist and system boy, Malikawa, protected them from the dangers of the pen; they now thought it is their birthright. That is why a simple question put to coach Maikaba, that "why did you change your lineup from the previous match," led to his being flared up, and he allegedly resorted to raining abuses because him don see Kano SWAN finish.

I blame Malikawa and Ado Salisu; they have been protecting the crop of sports administrators and technical crew and coaches who had been escaping the eagle eyes of sports journalists for years. I pray God will grant Comrade Zahradeen Saleh and his team the strength to now take SWAN to the promised land.

You cannot hate a child and like the mother. If Kano sports writers want to make a strong statement to be taken seriously on their new stance on public interest sports journalism, they should boycott all KPFC activities; they should do so; they should go all out, not halfway, no diplomacy. 

SWAN members are trade unionists, not diplomats. Boycotting Maikaba alone is lopsided. For long, KPFC has been taking SWAN members for a professional jolly ride. Malikawa was heavily guilty of shielding them from the ills of the pen hammer. This has been ongoing for years; many will testify and are all living witnesses of how Malikawa had used his vast media network to protect Kano Pillars, and they have decided to hate him for daring to now reverse to do his job by asking the rightful question that serves him right because he made them see evil as good, good as evil, not asking relevant questions by journalists as their birthright.

Evidence abounds why sports journalists count on their relationship with Malikawa to look the other way whenever KPFC crossed the red lines. If SWAN wants to make a clear statement, then no half-metted punishment; a full dish should contain the media orishirishi should be served on KPFC.

Maikaba and his gang should not be singled out. Secondly, a letter should be sent to NPFL through SWAN national secretariat. 

Thirdly, no secret truce should be reached on this matter. But in all, one or two SWAN members like Malikawa and some others, like Salisu Musa Jegu, Muzamil Dalha Yola, and Musibau Bala Chedi Yanguarasa, should not be approached secretly as usual, and they would start calling for secret truce. 

You naked me in the marketplace, and you follow me to my bedroom to appease me; imagine. SWAN Kano members shine your eyes.

The truth hurts, but I will make bold to say that the Ibrahim Little KPFC administration has no professional respect or created a cordial working atmosphere for SWAN members, and his administration from day one did not extend the fraternal hand of football friendship to SWAN. Malikawa was trying to manage the situation, if you understand, but today the truth is out in the open. 

Maikaba only acted the script of his paymasters. SWAN Kano should take up the gauntlet and breathe the courage to confront the KPFC paymasters. Let SWAN not kill the message but could kill the messenger and also remember to kill the sender that is the encoder.

A committee should be set up to investigate the matter and publish the report of the findings of the committee. I am ready to chair the committee, if given the task, to look at happenings in Kano Pillars FC, in the past, present, and the way forward, and recommend necessary measures to forestall recurrence to the state government and the general public. SWAN Kano should go the way of what is known in the legal system as Amicus Curae. 

The committee should be mandated to look at Kano Pillars FC finances, recruitment of coaches and players, transfer deals, ticket sales, away matches, sponsorship deals, marketing, and the general situation in the club and make recommendations to the state government and the general public, telling them what they need to know.

We have Kano Pillars FC that does not know the difference between sponsorship, patronage, and partnership. Most annoying is the attitude of Kano state government under His Excellency, Engr. Abba Kabir Yusuf towards the affairs of the club. Kano state government is treating Kano Pillars as the least of all its challenges.

That is why Kano Pillars FC will be invited to international meetings to meet with football investors; they will not attend, not even to reply to such letters of invitation, because they can always run to Kano government house, and they will govern millions of naira. KPFC is now prey on government meager resources, even when it has the potentials to generate its own revenue into government coffers. 

If other states do not know how to run their football clubs to derive IGR, the incumbent KNSG should light the path. 

Other clubs don't have the football revenue potentials of Kano Pillars. If other states run their clubs for recreational and public relations purposes, Kano Pillars possess the potentials of achieving everything possible in the football business industry. Ask anyone that knows football business; they will affirm this. Ibrahim Little and his predecessors prey on government monies and even when the insignificant monies generated are been mismanaged, Here's the corrected text with improved spelling and grammar:

"SWAN Kano played the ostrich; it kept quiet, even when the KPFC brand became a caricature, even in the face of 'face me, I face you' football management of the club, even when Alibaba and the 40 thieves managed the affairs of the club. SWAN was asked to remain cool to avoid distracting the players.

Now the bubble has burst.With the brewing crisis between KPFC and sports writers in Kano, the father-and-son relationship between SWAN and KNSG Commissioner of Information and former President of the Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE), a strong supporter of the association, Halilu Babadantiye MNI, may not save the situation.

The relationship between SWAN and Ibrahim Garba, the current CPS to the Kano Deputy Governor, may not save the situation.

Football news travels like wildfire in the wilderness; SWAN members have sharpened their swords. Beware the Ides of March."

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