Eugene Upah|3 May 2017
Comrade Asu Okang, Commissioner for Youths and Sports, CRS.
Rt. Hon. Orok Otu Duke, Chairman, CRS Sports Commission.
Mr. Effiom Effiwatt, SA, to the Gov. on Sports.
Based on logistics, as at November 2014, Cross Rivers State had already won the National Schools Sports Festival (NSSF) for the record 4th time in a row and still hold the title as defending champions of the competition till date, thanks to the then result-oriented Comprehensive Sports Development Program (CSDP) of Cross River.
Prior to CSDP, Cross River State ranked 15th position at the National Sports Festival in 2010, and 8th at its “Eko 2012” edition held at Lagos. To set the records straight, sports is at its lowest level in Cross River State again after the sector had been liberated in recent years. Indeed after successfully winning laurels in Athletics, Boxing, Weightlifting, Judo and Swimming etc., and after eclipsing big contender states like Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Anambra and Delta, Cross River State couldn’t maintain its standard as the “grassroots sports development model” in Nigeria due to inconsistent attention given to sports in the state. This publication is not intended to provoke or call anyone to order, it is staged to ensure there is collaboration between the parties of the industry in Cross River State, as it is the only amicable resolution towards reclaiming her top spot and redeeming the lost glory of sports in the state.
While sports is not given the attention it ought to have gotten due to the scares resources and lopsided attention by the Chief Executive of the state (based on my own opinion), other states are taking advantage exerting influence at the expense of the champion; Cross River. For instance, accomplished athletes like Blessing Ofonime, Goodnews Akpan, Endurance Essien, Loveth Ordia to mention only but a few, are competing and winning medals for the United States and the Federation of Bahrain in Athletics. These sportsmen and women, were scouted and discovered from the Comprehensive Sports development model of Cross River State set up by the then Governor, Liyel Imoke. Ofonime represented and won medal for Bahrain at the Rio Olympics Games in 2016. As I write today, the Federation of Bahrain cannot confront any major international competition without Ofonime in her team. But what then is the case with sports declining in Cross River State?
Me thinks that Governor Ben Ayade have still not been properly counselled and compelled to see reason about the inevitable impact of sports to any state or country. Apart from discovering talents and winning back medals for the state, sports develops skills, reduces youth’s restiveness (most importantly), attracts national and international attention, brings investments via multinationals bringing in their brand names to station in the state, builds bridges between ethic and socio-political organizations and strengthens unity.
Cross River State has postponed hosting the 19th National Sports Festival since May 2014 primarily due to non-completion of sporting facilities which I do not blame the Government of Senator Ben Ayade for, but at this time, what the government needs to do to revive the image of the sector and muscle back its way into national limelight in the absence of hosting the famous Obudu Mountain Race which was last hosted in 2014, is to put in place alternative measures towards hosting the prestigious National Sports Festival which had been kept pending since 2014.
Is a Social Commentator