From Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, www.calitown.com has been informed that officials of the Cross River State Sports Commission who are at the head of the state’s delegation to the National Sports Festival, left Calabar with a directive from Ben Ayade, state governor, to bid for the next edition of the festival, several years after the state’s inability to host the sports showpiece threatened her existence.
But while they have gone ahead to put in a bid for the 2020 edition of the games, our investigations have revealed that the bid was backed by a cash strapped intention and delegation. Government sources in the Accountant-General’s Office, Calabar, were specific to www.calitown.com that officials of the CRS Sports Commission applied for N100 million to execute bid formalities, cater for the state contingent, replace failed equipment for athletes competing in the less than 10 sports the state entered for, etc. What was however approved and released was a paltry N12 million, an amount Zenith Bank sources, where the money was drawn from, confirmed to www.calitown.com.
“See, we never seem to get our priorities right. We want to host again, a National Sports Festival that we tied down for six years? Did you see that a Delta State’s serious bid to host the festival is driven by Okowa, the state governor. Isn’t that body language that tells you the state is serious? Can you point to that kind of seriousness and enthusiasm in the directive given to Orok Duke and Co, to bid for the hosting of the festival? Well, I wish Orok Duke luck but hope that in the end, he will not gnash his teeth as drives a process that clearly looks like one that’s dead on arrival. Let me stop here for now”, one sports enthusiast in the state who insisted we anonymously publish his views, stated.
Sports facilities and centres to host an event of this magnitude are almost non-existent in the state. At the point where the hosting rights were taken away from CRS, the Liyel Imoke administration had sunk billions of state funds, trying to shore up facilities and event centres. A huge chunk of the money was stolen by several contractors and colluding state officials. Even the poorly built indoor sports hall at the U. J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar, collapsed before it was ready. Attempts to speak with Orok Duke, Chairman of the CRS Sports Council, were impossible at press time.
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