Calabar – Stakeholders in sports administration in Cross River have appealed to Gov. Ben Ayade to sustain and improve the state’s policy on sports development.
The stakeholders said in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar on Friday that there was a need for continuity in the sports sector.
The Director of Administration in the ministry of sports, Oswald Atuake, said that governance was a continuum and that there was the need for continuity in the sports sector.
Atuake said that the sports sector was faced with a lot of challenges due to paucity of funds.
“We signed a memorandum of understanding to host the 2015 National Sports Festival and some facilities are already on ground but our athletes who have been camping for the past seven months or so are yet to be paid.
“We are not even sure if the government is still going to host the event or not.
“Also we have teams that are participating in national competitions like the Calabar Rovers that have qualified to play in the second division of the league but are being owed salaries up to 10 months.
“Pelican Stars can longer honour their away matches in the female league; some of us now contribute money from our pockets for them to play home matches.
“So we appeal to the government to come to our aid by looking into the sports sector to continue from where the last administration stopped,’’ he said.
Atuake further said that the two stadia started by the past administration in Ogoja and Ikom were yet to be completed and appealed for the governor’s intervention.
“Ikom and Ogoja stadia are yet to be completed and these were facilities designed to generate revenue for the state.
“We also have the indoor sports hall under construction and similar facilities across the state that are at various stages of completion,’’ he said.
Also speaking, a sports analyst, David Adie, described the standard set by the state in the past few years in sports as high.
He stressed the need for the current administration to improve upon the performance of the state’s athletes by continuing with the legacies of the immediate past administration.
He acknowledged the financial challenges facing the state and the country but added that a well-articulated sports policy could turn the fortunes of the state.
“This state won so many laurels in recent national sports events in the country and I think this is not the time to go back. We must continue to be on the front burner,’’ Adie said.
Ene Asuquo, the Media Officer of Rovers Football Club, also lamented the lack of activities in the sports sector since the commencement of the present administration, saying the situation was confusing.
“I think the governor should do more for sports in the state. Rovers players are owed salaries for more than eight month and nobody knows the mind of the government.
“All the equipment procured for the sports festival are now lying waste and nobody is saying anything,’’ he said.
Another sports enthusiast, Ojong Inah, said the lack of activities in the sports sector in recent time was a setback to the development of sports in the state.
“I am worried about the situation,’’ he said.
However, the state governor said it was facing the challenge of shortfall in the federal allocation while the internally-generated revenue was nothing to write home about.
He told journalists in Calabar that the administration was saddled with the issue of prompt payment of salary as well as creating jobs for the unemployed.
He also said that the administration was exploring new and various ways of revenue generation to mitigate its challenges and provide quality governance to the people. (NAN)