Asaba 2018 Fallout: Why Reuben Abati May Be Sued
Though the 21st African Senior Athletics Championships has come and gone, the perceived misinformation being fed to the public about the event is not going down well with the organizers.
Solomon Ogba, the Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of CAA Asaba 2018 African Senior Athletics Championships, has described a recent article by Reuben Abati labeling Asaba 2018 as a disgrace, as unfortunate in itself and equally disgraceful.
He said:“Dr. Abati, a respected journalist, has a right to his opinions but to describe the organization of CAA Asaba 2018 as a disgrace shows he is acting in a manner that suggests that he is being used”.
In a statement by Olukayode Thomas, Ogba further said it is regrettable that Abati wrote authoritatively about a subject he had no first hand information on.
“He was not in Asaba, so why write authoritatively about an event you did not witness? I am sure if he had contacted his junior colleague, Olukayode Thomas, who is our head of Media, he would have gotten some firsthand information and clearer insight. He could have called to check his facts and would have saved himself all the embarrassment the falsehood he penned is causing.
“He wasn’t even ready to give the organizer the benefit of the doubt. It is lamentable that a writer of Abati’s stature in the media is relying on unverifiable information available on online media to write a sensitive article’’.
Ogba said the Championship had hitches which were dealt with swiftly and the few countries involved were grateful for the manner in which the issues were resolved.
“Compared to previous African Championships, we witnessed the least complaints, especially in the areas of feeding, accommodation and transportation”.
Ogba said contrary to Abati’s story, no country slept at the airport for three days, “Regular travelers like Abati know that our airports shut down by 11pm, so how can people sleep in an airport that is completely closed down by night? We had four hotels in Lagos. They include the two Ibis near the airport and Novotel where the athletes and officials that could not connect a flight to Asaba stayed and Abati is free to contact the management of the hotels.”
Ogba said Abati was in a hurry to do a hatchet job and therefore did not tarry to carry out his research properly before going to the press.
Among other highs, the Asaba Championship is the first ever championship where athletes got prize money for performances and where countries got transport allowances.
Ogba has demanded a retraction from Abati within 48 hours or he will face a lawsuit.
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