“The Need to Invest In Sports Sector”
Dear Governor Prince Otu.
I found it very vital to write you at this critical period of our dear State where Cross Riverians, particularly the youths are yearning for liberation.
Your Excellency, it is true that the youths in Cross River State have suffered a lot under the past leaderships of the state, starting from the administration of Donald Duke in 1999 till the last administration of Prof. Ben Ayade because the area of sports was completely neglected, and as such their voices went deemed.
You may not be associated to this problem anyway, therefore, no one can outrightly blame you for that now, but you can only be blamed if now that you are aware that all is not well with the sector and choose not to address it like your predecessors.
Sir, How do you feel when you see Bayelsa, Edo, Delta, Rivers, Osun states among others celebrating their athletes who made the country proud in international outings?
As a person, I feel ashame that for a long time, Cross Riverians are nowhere to be found when athletes are counted in Nigeria unlike those days where the likes of Mercy Nku (Nigerian Sprinter) who was All African Games, Olympic Games winners among other championships. Edidiong Odiong, a former Nigerian junior champion in the 400 metres in 2013 and Okon Asuquo Bassey (aka Hogan Bassey), a Nigerian boxing legend, among others who were flying the flag of the state nationally and internationally.
It will be a thing of joy for Cross Riverians if those good days of sports successes are brought back in the state under your leadership. I know you can do it because your government policy is directed towards uplifting the youths, and sports, so, I advice that your administration’s focal point outside economy should be sports.
Our State has the potential to dominate the National Sports Festival (NSF), like Delta state is currently doing if appropriate measures are put in place, and which I believe you have what it takes, because within your few days in office, you have demonstrated that you can do it if the right people are around you.
Your Excellency, as a sports journalist of close to two decades in practice, I could not but let you know that there is need to invest in the sports sector that way many youths would be usefully engaged without much stress to the state.
All you need your Excellency, is the right knowledge on what it takes to achieve it.
Sir, the truth is that your predecessors were not interested in the development and happiness of the youths; especially onebof them who was approached by one Jide Fashekun, now late with a sports project that could have repositioned our sports sector, and engaged the youths massively, but as usual,the said governor paid deaf ears until his tenure was over. It will interest you to note that the immediate past minister of sports, Sunday Dare utilized some of the items in late Fashekun’s proposal that was submitted to the said governor which off course has made him one of the best sports ministers in the recent times.
Raphael Ekpang is the Sports Editor of New National Star Newspaper and also Editor -In-Chief of Core Reporters, he writes from Abuja the federal Capital Territory