Ekiti State athletes to the 2018 National Sports Festival have protested against the alleged fraud in the 7million Naira approved by the state government for the fiesta which kick off in three days’ time.
They accused the management of the state sports council of pocketing 5 million naira made available by the government and declared a paltry 2 million naira.
The protesting athletes locked up the main gate of the Kayode Oluyemi stadium in Ado Ekiti, the state capital preventing people from gaining entry and chased out state officials from their offices.
One of the athletes who craved anonymity told journalists that the negotiations on the funds to be released between state government and the sports council have been on for some times now.
“It started from 32 million to 19 million and they eventually agreed on 7 million naira but they were now telling us that only 2 million naira was approved by the state government.
” We have been preparing for the sports festival which starts on Thursday December 6, in Abuja since about three months ago.
” The athletes have been engaging in open camping all the while with most of us coming from across the 16 local government areas of the state.”
The general manager of Ekiti State Sports Council, Deji Samo, spoke of likelihood of the athletes being sponsored for the protest for personal interests.
Samo dismissed the athletes’ allegations, saying:”We have sent our file to the governor. We are expecting his response.
“It is when we get approval for fund that we will know how many of the athletes will go for the games. We will like to go to the competition with our medal hopefuls.
“Because of funds, we had to put the athletes through open camp. They have been preparing. All I know is that we are going to the games in Abuja and we will make the state proud”.
The source added that about 150 athletes were earlier scheduled to represent the state at sports festival but the said money would not be enough to cater for 30 athletes.
“We have been to the Governor’s office last week Friday and they assured us that funds will be made available for our participation.
“Going by the amount released, the athletes will have to make do with 3,000 naira per day for the 10 day event. Even the bus to convey to Abuja was yet to be repaired . All we want is for them to produce and show us the document for the approval of the money, ” he added.
Meanwhile, the state chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) will on Wednesday hold its 2018 edition of the SWAN Cup competition.
This year’s edition, tagged Prince Adeyemi Imperial Alabi SWAN Cup which will feature the game of Tennis will hold at the Tennis court of the Trade fair complex,Iyin Road Ado Ekiti by 10:00am.
Sports journalists from the various media establishments and NUJ Chapels in the state are to slug it out in the annual events with trophy and cash prizes to be won.
Dignitaries expected at the event are the state Chairman,Tennis Association, Mr.Yemi Owoseni, former Head of Service Dr. Olugbenga Faseluka, Executive Secretary PTAD Ekiti State Jide Akinleye and the South west patron of SWAN,Asiwaju Ayodeji Olajubu among other Personalities.