Sporting activities as well as games went into oblivion in Ebonyi state since 2015, no thanks to the past administration which saw no gains in investing in sports.
EGWUAGHA AMARACHUKWU reports that craving for games in the state is about to be satisfied with BIKERS FESTIVAL 2018 as number one in the menu
Abakiliki craving for games The enthusiasm and craving for sporting activities in Ebonyi state by residents are coming to fruition with the state capital, Abakiliki now aglow, as motorcycle bikers glided the streets and major roads on Friday, September 18, for their annual convention.
Sporting activities of the state went into oblivion in 2015, following the assumption of office by the immediate past governor of the state, Martin Elechi, who saw sports as a nonprofit venture.
Umahi changed story However the story changed with the inception of the incumbent Govenor David Umahi, who wasted no time in identifying the benefits of sports to state and the need to help promising talented Ebonyians to develop their skills in the area of sports.
He started by thorough renovation of the state owned stadium which is now in use.
The stadium with the state –of- the -art facilities is a clear demonstration of the governor’s willingness to develop sports in the state.
With this passion, the state sports ministry has become a beehive of activities because of the gigantic resources invested in sports by Umahi.
This has spurred the state Sports Commissioner, Mr Charlse Akpuenika, to embark on grassroots sports development.
Akpuenika has initiated lofty ideas towards developing the grassroots sports.
This has revived the state.
An act that put to birth the just concluded David Umahi Tertiary Institutions games (DUMTIGA).
It had about eleven tertiary institutions participating with different sporting activities.
While these activities which had a success story was just concluded, the state Governor gave approval for motorcycle bikers to have their annual convention in the state.
This experience is yet to be witnessed by the state.
Closer to nature The convention is going to last for four days with amazing sporting activities.
Addressing sports Writers Assocation of Nigeria (SWAN) in Abakaliki, National President of the Association, Mrs Joann Otaru, said that the bikers under the name of Ace of Spades Bikers Association a.k.a—Bikers in Nigeria (BIN) would use their motorbikes to bike from their various locations to Ebonyi for the event .
Otaru however spoke through Chairman of Sports writers association(SWAN) Ebonyi chapter, said the program which is tagged “Closer to Nature –Games Festival” would last from September.28—Oct.1st 2018, adding that members attending the program would come from Nigeria and the West African sub-region.
“The body is an umbrella body for various motorcycle clubs in Nigeria and was set up to promote unity, discipline and responsibility amongst members.
She noted that the concept of the annual convention was built-on an educative, fun filled, and community give back model as the 2018 convention aims at promoting team bonding activities through various intense survival games.
“We would also be conducting free cervical and breast cancer screening on the public and explore the rich-cultural heritage of Ebonyi people.
Otaru narrated that the convention had been a regular feature in the country since it started in Calabar, Cross River state in 2008, and has been held in different states such as Benue, Rivers, Oyo, Akwa Ibom, Plateau, Ekiti, Delta, Lagos and Imo states.
“The event is opened to the public and bike enthusiasts who wish to interact and familiarise with the biking community not just from Nigeria but West Africa,” she said.
Otaru remarked that the Ace of Spades bikers association is the names used to register the association with the Corporate Affairs Commission(CAC).
“We debunk the notion that biking is a dangerous sport but however encourage individuals to enroll in riding schools to learn about inherent risks associated with biking and ways to avoid them; before joining our association”.
She noted that there are riding schools all over the country such as in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Ibadan among others and that their members have the needed training and licence to operate super-bikes.
“The same processes obtained in acquiring bikes are the same with cars and the costs are relative to the type of bike that one seeks to acquire which makes anyone who can afford a car to equally afford a bike”.
Reactions by Eboyians Mr Emeka Okpara chairman of sports writer Association of Nigeria Ebony Chapter, said the sporting event would bring a boost to the sports world of the state especially as such has never been witnessed before.
According to him, “When you talk of the conversation of the bikers in Nigeria BIN you find out that apart from IMO state no other state in the southeast has hosted the motorcycle bikers.
“The convention comes with it’s own stress and fun fare.
The convention he continued coming up in Ebonyi is a welcome development, such thing has not happened in the state, Ebonyi indigenes have not witness this before and it is coming on the thrones of revival of sports were for the first time in eight years before the inception of this government we are now seeing something new in the state”.
Okpara further explained that, sport activities have now started to go on in Ebonyi at the PA Ngele Oruta Township Stadium, “we are now seeing football matches although the state has no club we witnessed the DUMTIGA games that had ten tertiary institutions participated in the nine games that brought back the sporting memories ,it brought back the trills that fans had in Ebonyi Angels and Ebonyi Queens football club of the state”.
The SWAN chairman commented on the timing of the event and encouraged the state government to throw its weight behind the association.
“Coming at the background of the independence celebtation and the 22nd anniversary of the state creation I think it will add to the thrills, it will add to the fun fare the excitement generated during such event will be high in Ebonyi.
“Government should support the association in anyway because they are coming to assist, to lift the spirit and minds of the citizens of the state, to make them be in game mood and festive mood like in national games where you have the kind of frenzy that captivate the mood of the people.
“At least Ebonyians will see bikers doing their stuns on the roads, it had not happened before.
It is a plus to the government the revival of all sectors of sport in this state has never happened before.
which is normally a burden on the people.
“The cycleling event will be a boost to the state because after this people may likely want to go into motorcycling game”.
A sports lover and member SWAN, Uchenna Inya, emphatically stated that the sport would attract the international communities to the state.
“The game will project the state to international community, again it will boost sports you know before now they have been a decline in sporting activities in the state but ever since this current administration came on board and started laying emphasis on sports, sports people like the bikers began to show interest on the state.
Maybe after the bikers convention others sports athletes like long tennis, or even football , among others will also begin to come to the state.
Their coming would project the state further and will also show case the achievements of the state government in the sports sector.
Also, Ogochukwu Anioke, a sports man in Ebony welcomes the association, commended the state government for shedding light on sporting events in the state.
“It is a welcome development and it goes to show that sports in Ebonyi has been given a boost by the state government.
Before the coming of this government there were no tournament but talking of this biking activities it would have not been possible because sports biking as we know is done on the road.
“Before the inception of governor David Umahi there was no road, the roads in the state was very bad so it wouldn’t have been possible for motorcycle bikers to choose Abakaliki, Ebonyi state for such conversation.
But since the coming of Umahi all the roads in Ebonyi are now smooth they have been reconstructed and rebuilt and I think that must have played a major role in the decision of the bikers to choose Ebony for such tournament.
“It is a commendable one for the state, if you go to the stadium it is taking a new look.
“We also know that in November the Southeast South south pre-season football tournament for club in Nigeria football league and professional football leagues would be taking place.
So all these going on are to show that sports under Umahi is taking a new boost.
I sincerely want to commend the Governor and the his commissioner for sports chief Charles Akpuenika, for all their commitments in sports, they should keep it up.
To the sports world, I want them to know that Ebonyi is now a destination for sporting activities”.