By Our Correspondent
The Governor of Cross River State, Senator Ben Ayade has explained why the state has been unable to host the National Sports Festival which was originally billed to be hosted in the state capital in November 2014.
The governor explained recently that the huge salary arrears that his administration inherited from the Imoke administration constrained him to face other pressing issues like clearing the salaries arrears other than the Paradise Games, as the festival was christened.
It will be recalled that after the last festival, Eko Games, hosted by Lagos, in November 2012, the then governor of Cross River state, Senator Liyel Imoke, while hosting members of the Main Organizing Committee in his office, had promised that the Paradise Games will be the best the country has ever seen. Cross River Will Host Best National Sports Festival Ever – Imoke
CrossRiverWatch later alerted the public about the possibility of postponement of the event due to non-readiness of facilities in a story National Sports Festival In Calabar Might Not Hold As Scheduled – Investigation, before the postponement was officially announced by the former DG of the National Sports Commission, Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye, who also announced a new date for the games in April 2015. 2014 National Sports Festival In Calabar Postponed
CrossRiverWatch still drew the attention of the public to the possible inability of the state government to meet the new date, still due to non-readiness of venues and facilities in another story National Sports Festival: Lack Of Funding Stalls Facilities Construction As Sportsmen Await New Date
With the coming on board of the Ayade administration, there were initial fears that his government may decline hosting the festival at all and ask the National Sports Commission to look elsewhere for a host but the government quickly dispelled such insinuations and insisted that the state was still ready to go ahead with the hosting of the games.
Without any feasible date being contemplated anytime soon, the governor may have further dampened the spirit of sportsmen and women who have been asking for the announcement of a new date for the games with the latest admission that the heavy indebtedness that the immediate past administration left for the incumbent may hamper the hosting of the festival.
While speaking earlier in the week at the induction ceremony of new members into the Calabar Sports Club, the governor explained that he met other priorities on the ground that required more urgent attention than the festival when he took over.
Governor Ayade who was represented at the event by his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu disclosed to his audience that the present administration in the state led by, Senator Ben Ayade, is in love with sports but could not take on the charge of ensuring the National Sports Festival hold as scheduled because as at the time they came on board “we had challenges of workers salary and we couldn’t let go of that for the festival, that is not to say we don’t support sports,” he said.
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