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Sports Festival: Lobbyists take over Rivers

By Tony Ubani

AS Nigerian athletes look forward to yet another eventful year for the 17th  National Sports Festival following the glorious ending in Kaduna, there are fears that pressure from high places to give contracts to green horns may lower the standard of facilities set by Kaduna.

Rivers State Government had promised to surpass the facilities in Kaduna when they got the nod to host the festival as Governor Rotimi Amaechi pledged to present first class facilities.

“Too many neophytes are bombarding the Government House and the Local Organising Committee, LOC, with letters from very high places to be given contracts. One of the contractors was asked a question on tartan tracks and he confessed to not knowing anything about it. But he brought a letter from an official that we cannot say no to”, a dependable source informed Sports Vanguard.

Governor Rotimi Amaechi
Governor Rotimi Amaechi

That is exactly how the fear over sub-standard facilities for the festival started. But another source hinted that Governor Amaechi and the Deputy Governor, Mr Tele Ikuru, who is the LOC Chairman would not allow things to go awry. “They are technocrats who are genuinely interested in the best for Rivers State and Nigeria. Lobbyists are bound to come but they won’t compromise standard”, the source assured.

Governor Amaechi who is the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force set by President Yar’Adua has shown his savvy  by restoring hopes in the Super Eagles qualifying matches. Many expect nothing less from him when his state hosts the National Sports Festival, next year.


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