Monday, 14 May 2018

Why Cross River lost the hosting right of the National Sports Festival —Orok Duke, explains

Mr Ozolua Giwa Amy(middle) and collapsed indoor sport facility at UJ Esuene Sports Stadium
Efio-Ita Nyok|14 May 2018

The Cross River State Sports Commission, last week, gave an insight into realities that surrounded Cross River loosing the right to host the National Sports Festival 2018 NegroidHaven has garnered. 

The Commission was represented by her Executive Chairman, Rt. Hon. Orok Duke as well as her Director of Sports, Dr. Jude Amadi. 

While addressing members of the Press and the state chapter of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) the duo affirmed that the hosting right had been withdrawn, particularly Dr Amadi informed that the move should be seen as an intervention on the premise that the state still retained the chance of bidding for the next edition of the National Sports Festival. He further noted that this intervention meant to save the National Festival Calendar by the Federal Government wasn't peculiar to Cross River. 

According to Amadi, 'the festival has been withdrawn from Cross River, but for us here, we believe it's no withdrawal, it's just an intervention by the Federal Government to save the Festival calendar. The so-called withdrawal was done without prejudice to Cross River State, which means Cross River State still stand the chance to bid for the next edition of the National Sport Festival. 

'We also need to know that this is not the first time the Federal Government has been intervening into the matters concerning the national sport festival, remember Lagos '89, it's was an intervention, when Lagos State wasn't ready to host, the FG had to come in to save the calendar of the Festival. This is what we mean.'

On his part, Rt. Hon. Duke added that though ,one of the reasons for the loss was because some sporting facilities required for the festival were not ready, the faults are not traceable to the state government but that of the contractors. Duke cited some condemnable sharp practices on the part of the contractors who had already been mobilised to sight with over 70% of the fund. Ironically, while the state had lost the hosting right, the said contractors have dragged the state government to court. 

His words, 'the facts still remains that some of the facilities were not yet ready, and not due to the faults of Cross River State Government but due to the fault of the contractors. I want to say here that, despite the fact that the hosting right is no more with us, some of the contractors still went to court; and I want to put it on record that since some of the contracts had foreign exchange inputs and some of the equipment were purchased at the cost of  N135 to a dollar, now that it is N370, they had brought in these equipments, kept them in some warehouses, (and) want to extort money from the state government by forcing us to pay at the current rate, which His Excellency Governor Ben Ayade refused, so they've gone to court'. 

Again, Duke explained that one Vast Nigeria Limited was one of the contractors to dragged the state government to court. According to him, Vast, after collecting almost N1.5 billion, abandoned the project of constructing a main bowl and swimming pool. There's another case of one Mr Ozolua Giwa Amy who got $14 million from the state government to construct the Indoors Sports Hall but abandoned it after mobilisation. 

His words, 'Look at the intrigues involved in all the court cases, they went and sued the governor that they know won't be there, the Attorney General that will not have much of the information, and they sued the consultant; so, what I discovered was that the consultant's affidavit was almost the same with the aggrieved contractors, so I had to get the leave of the court to include myself in the court case; 

'Based on that, some of the contractors now formally reported that I should be arrested and went to the IGP, who sent an x-team, on arrival, I forwarded the invitation to the Attorney General and the police discovered they went to court, knowing that they may not win in court, it was before Justice Eneji, now Justice Akon Ikpeme, they are using all sort of underhand tactics to force money from the hands of Cross River State Government. 

'The first person that went to court was Vast Nigeria Limited. Vast executed this contracts for four hundred and something million for the main bowl, swimming pool to provide just one lane out of nine, we have eight, to provide one, N454 million, and over N1 billion and abandoned all 

'We have lost the hosting right because the contractor did not finish the contract; of course, you know the case of the Indoor Sports Hall where he dared us after collecting $14 million, that is Ozolua; 

'I want to also mention something here if you see connivance within the system: Ozolua collected $14 million, did not finish the Indoor Sports Hall and dared us to go to court, I replied him on certain basic facts, a year after, I got a letter from a legal firm in Lagos, saying that we for defaming him, should come and pay some money, and I looked at the letterhead and saw, Edward Ogon Nigeria Associates; Edward Ogon is an appointee of Ben Ayade and it is this present government. I am just trying to tell you how people are. Which means, long before we came on board, this people were complicit, were part of the contract. 

It will be recalled that on the 16th of May 2017, NegroidHaven published a news item titled: U. J. Esuene Stadium Collapse: 2000 children evade been crushed to death! Contractor dares CRSG where she reported the collapse of the sport hall of Saturday 14th May almost killing 2,000 children. 

Efio-Ita Nyok
Is the Blogger-in-Chief, Editor-in-Chief & Publisher of NegroidHaven 

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