Spilled coffee, starry eyed interns highlight Day 1 of the free mentorship for sportscasters


Mentorship program with Sportscasters, Day 1
When I wrote via social media that I would hold a six week mentor-ship program with young and aspiring sportscasters in Rivers State I did not expect the kind of response I would get.
Yes I put up conditions that they must be in or fresh out of school and most importantly, I threw in an age range of 18-24. a few who were a little above the age limit wanted to get in and some who were way over the age limit also tried, but it had to be done for a reason.
After sieving out the many applications the sessions started with eight people- Susan Osimiri would join us later as she was rounding up from school and another chap from the Rivers State University would also be part of what we were doing.
The Icebreaker
When they all arrived on Saturday, April 27, 2019, I needed an icebreaker and the good god of icebreakers smiled at me as soon as we were setting up the room.
My coffee spilled, due more to my clumsiness than any other thing, but someone had to pay for it and as soon as I looked up, my eyes met those of a lady, whose name later turned out to be Faith and I had to blame it on her.
With a scowl on my face and pointing my index finger towards her direction like the Red Priestess, Melisandre in Game of Thrones, I said, “It is all your fault! You caused my coffee to spill.”
She was frenetic as she tried to defend herself, while I did my best to play my best “angry lecturer” role. I should take up acting. Nollywood, I am here.
Then as I sent off Daniel (Ekemini) to get some tissue from my car to clear the mess, I told her to write a pager on “How bad luck ruined my chances.”
I finally broke the ice. Following this is a narration from every one present, on the proceedings of the day.
Faith Yeega
Today, I and 7 other aspiring young sports casters had the opportunity of meeting with Mr. China Acheru, one of Port Harcourt’s finest sports presenters at Wish 99.5 FM, opposite AIT, Ozuoba, Port Harcourt.
Those of us who arrived before 9am and to wait for Mr. China to finish up his program after which, he asked us to move into the news/ sports room and get seated.  
We did as we were told, but just as I was about to take a seat, the coffee he was about to drink spilled. He told me that the spill was caused by my bad luck and asked me to write on ‘How Bad Luck Ruined My Chances ‘ in 4 paragraphs within 15 minutes.
Mr. China asked the other guys to write on ‘How I Benefited From Bad Luck’ in four paragraphs too.
We finished and submitted what we’d written to him. He read through our work and after reading, proceeded to ask us questions.
When it was Topgbee Adile’s turn to be questioned he was asked to mention the bottom three sports casters in Port Harcourt. Adile, after a little bit of thinking through mentioned Patterson of Nigeria Info 92.3 FM’s Sports Gang. When asked why he picked just Patterson, Adile said he doesn’t like the style the controversial Nigeria Info FM man, which according to him is usually biased.
In response to Adile’s comment on Patterson, Mr. China put a call through and told him that he is with some young interns he intends to train and someone just singled him out as the only sports caster he doesn’t enjoy.
He threw some jabs and the call ended on a friendly note.
Prince Jack
After getting accepted for a Six weeks Sportscasting Internship program, a team of Nine (9) selected students were slated to meet with Mr, China Acheru at Wish 99.5 FM at Ozuoba by 9am.
Having a standard for not joking with time schedule, the iconic China Acheru welcomed the first Seven persons that arrived at the venue at exactly 09:06am into the “Sports & News” office.
Immediately we walked into the office, he welcomed us, smiled and simply Said “Relax, you are not here for an Interview, questioning or whatever, I invited all of you here for me to get to know all of you”.
He accompanied the talk by pouring coffee into his cup which quickly slipped out of his hands and made it’s way to the floor. Looking at the incident, we all quickly started chorusing “Sorry sire”, “We’re Sorry sire”. He smiled and looked at one of the attendees (Miss Faith) and said to her; “In not less than four paragraphs, write on how Bad luck ruined your Chances”, the young lady looking perplexed by the immediate assignment, then made her way into her bag, looking for writing materials to begin her writings when Mr, China Acheru changed the subject; “Alright, all of you, join her. Write on how you benefited from Bad luck in not less than four paragraphs.”
An A4 paper was immediately passed around amongst the attendees by Mr, China Acheru. Looking at the worrying eyes of some of us, he quickly said; “I just want to know the kind of persons I’m with right now inside this office, relax yourselves and get to work, no pressure or whatsoever, I just want to see how creative all of you are, write whatever it is that you will write; even if you aren’t telling the truth but make it creative”.
Mr, Topgbee mentioned Patterson of CoolWazobiaInfo family as one of the Casters he dislikes; prompting Mr, China Acheru to call Patterson to inform him about the latest development which sparked laughter around the office.
He then asked us to mention the Sports Caster we love the most in Rivers State and the majority of the house picked Sammy Weyjinya of Beat, Naija and Classic FM. Mr, China Acheru quickly picked up of his phone, took pictures and a video and joking narrating to Sammy, “Sammy, see your fans oh, I can’t be training them for you, come & take your people”. This prompted another session of laughter around the office and then Mr, China Acheru jokingly asked us; “I and Sammy, who is better?” We all answered logically stating they are both legends in their own right.

Emmanuel Asuzu
I was late, 35 minutes late so Mr. China Acheru asked me to stay outside. After some minutes I was allowed to enter the room, got my seat; it was an interactive class with 8 persons/Students, each spoke about WHY and HOW to become the Best Sportscaster and our best three sports casters in Rivers State and in Nigeria. There was a common name among 8 of us there, Mr. Sammy Wejinya of Naija 92. 7 FM, with other names like Chuma Nnoli, Foskolo, Patterson and Colin Udoh.
Mr. China Acheru talked us through about how he became a sports caster without initially studying journalism as a course and he also mentioned some few ‘big names” in Sportscasting in Rivers State and Nigeria who didn’t study Journalism initially.
He also highlighted how he was writing and doing presentations at NTA and other notable newspapers at the age of 18.
Mr. China Acheru highlighted how being bold, determined and passionate in sports casting can be key ingredients for success.
All done, he requested for questions which none of us asked.
We all wrote our Phone numbers for a WhatsApp group, to be created and the class was dismissed for the day.

Stanley David
I was late, the meeting was scheduled for 9am and I arrived about 9:10am.
Upon taking my seat I immediately atte
mpted to join my peers in writing what Mr China had asked them to- A topic “How I benefited from bad luck.”
I was starting my first paragraph when he asked me to stop as I had no idea of what led to the said write up. I obeyed and waited, nervously watching my peers who had already begun writing. I sat there looking like a final year student whose answer booklet has been seized by the examiner for improper exam conduct. Moments later he instructed me to join my peers and I obliged.
One striking question Mr China asked during the interaction with the third speaker was that he should name the 3 worst sports casters he knows in port Harcourt -a banana peel question and he responded by naming just -Patterson Mgbeoji. Surprisingly, Mr China called Patterson on phone   informing him that one of the interns he wants to mentor on sportscasting named only him as his worst sports presenter in Port Harcourt. It was some sort of comic relief from an already charged up atmosphere. Then came my turn. I probably stunned everyone including my self by claiming the last time I listened to a sports show was exactly a week and one day ago. The reaction that trailed my admission kind of unsettled me and I appeared to struggle with the subsequent questions.
During the course of the over two hours long discussion Mr China called his friend Dan the Humorous to revive their long standing debate over who is more popular, including the video recording of the room when everyone had hands raised about being big fans of Sammy Wejinya -one of the foremost sports presenters in Rivers State.
Topgbee Adile
When I arrived at 99.5 wish FM I was filled with joy and enthusiasm to finally meet with Mr China Acheru. I was asked to wait at the reception for Mr China because he was on air. There at the reception I met some of my fellow interns who wanted to see Mr China too. Finally the wait was over and we went in to see him. I was happy and at the same time tensed because I did not know what to expect. But all that changed when one of my fellow intern made Mr China spill his coffee on the floor and we were  immediately told to write an essay. That really took me by surprise.
One of the moments I will never forget was when he asked me to name three sportscasters I did not like. That really threw me off my balance as I never expected that. I’m just really thankful I could recover, then I answered the question. It was really great to listen to my fellow interns talking about their passion and what drives them towards becoming radio sports people.
Mr China taught us how to profile the various sportscasters we know from the ones we like and admire down to the ones we did not like so we could learn from what makes them so good or bad at their job. This would help us make the best out of ourselves. In all, I learned a lot today and I also enjoyed myself.

Daniel Ekemini

The Ikwerre Man spilling his coffee because of Faith’s carelessness set the tone for the kickoff of THE MENTORSHIP PROGRAM WITH THE IKWERRE MAN which started at about 9am.
He mentioned during the meeting that he was particularly interested in writers. The next few sentences will be a written testimony to that.
On more than one occasion he mentioned that we weren’t there for an interview but for an introduction, though his method of questioning disagreed with him though. To be fair to him, the questions were straight forward. What’s your name? Why are you here? Who are your top/bottom three sportscasters in Port Harcourt? How frequently do you listen to radio? The general questions followed this pattern. The meeting took a humorous turn when Mr. China started making calls to some names that were mentioned in our discussion. It’s safe to say Patterson Mgbeoji of the COOLWAZOBIAINFO family stayed infamous for most parts of the meeting. From our discussion, some of us had some experience in sportscasting and blogging; most of us were students. The Ikwerre man made sure to give chunks of advice to everyone present whilst encouraging us not to be tensed during the meeting. Some of our favorite sportscasters were mentioned and we were told to learn from them. He shared stories of his experiences as a sports caster and one interesting lesson of boldness stuck with me.  
The meeting today gave good signs of how interesting the next six weeks will be. The Ikwerre man shared doubts about this program ending in a success, I disagreed within me there in the meeting and I’ll disagree again here.
Okeh Kenneth

The mentorship program started in a bit of an off mode with Mr China’s tea spilling over to the floor warranting him to ask us to write in four paragraphs how bad luck turned good.
We did that and the program began with him asking us our names,  reasons we are interested in the sportcasting and our best and worst radio sports people in Rivers State.
We all answered one after the other then moved to a general section were we communicated freely, which was lovely. One of us was late but he accepted him.
In the course of our discussion, one some of us made mention of disliking Patterson warranting Mr China to call him. He also made a short video when we all agreed that we like Mr Sammy Wejinya’s presentation pattern. All in all, we had fun.
And here I am hoping that the fun continues in the next six weeks like these ones have said.
Maybe they should think again. 

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