“ON behalf of His Excellency Governor Godswill Akpabio,Â the government and good people of Akwa Ibom State, I want to thank you most sincerely for being an exemplary corporate citizen.
â€œIn the area of sports we have also benefitted from your contribution and the annual secondary schools track and field championship which you sponsored for eight consecutive eight years, bears testimony to this.
â€œI am determined to reciprocate your good gesture by embarking on an infrastructural development of sports in this state. It pains me that there is nothing on the ground to help fast-track the development of sports especially at grassroot level and with our sports loving governor backing me all the way, there is no going back on this.â€
These were the words of Honourable John Harry, the newly appointed Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Youth and Sports as he welcomed Mrs. Regina Udobong to his office.
Mrs Udobong of Public Affairs department, Mobil Producing Nigeria QIT, had visited to brief the Honourable Commissioner on the forth coming Akwa Ibom State, NNPC, Mobil Schools Athletics Championship scheduled to hold later in the year in the oil rich city of Eket.
Accompanied by the consultant to the project Mr Paul Bassey, Mrs Udobong said NNPC and MPN Joint Venture has been in the vanguard of adding value to the lives of Nigerians, through outstanding contributions in education, sports and infrastructural development.
â€œ Sir, as we always say, we will never allow brilliant minds go to waste, that is why we are committed to enhancing the quality of lives of our operating communities and this time, the intervention is in the area of sports and education.â€
She went on to trace the history of the competition and thanked the Governor of the state His Excellency Chief Godswill Akpabio for his unwavering support just as she called for intensified state government interest in the championship.
In his contribution, Mr. Paul Bassey offered that Mobil and NNPC need be commended for staying faithful to this project that has helped to afford thousands of Akwa Ibom kids the opportunity of showcasing their talent. He said the experiment was already yielding dividends as graduates of the scheme are now representing Nigeria at international level.
â€œWith the dwindling fortunes of athletics and sports generally, I believe the Akwa Ibom project which is the only one of its kind in the country will have to be taken more seriously from now on. â€œ Mr. Bassey said.
Responding, Commissioner Harry said the state was indebted to Mobil and NNPC and he is desirous of capitalizing on that by building a strong sports base in the state.
â€œ It will interest you to note that we do not have the requisite infrastructural base for the development of sports. I will be an Oliver Twist. I will come to you again, I will go to other corporate entities and individuals and ask them to help me provide infrastructure in schools and colleges.
â€œ I need tennis tables, I need tennis and basketball courts. I need boxing rings and volleyball courts and swimming pools to be dotted round this great state of ours. Then and only then will we be able to gauge and fast track veritable development as our youths will be meaningfully engaged and made to shun the temptations of crimeâ€
He then promised to extend Mobilâ€™s invitation for this yearâ€™s championship to the governor and the state executive council.
The competition will kick off with a press conference in Uyo later in the week.