By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Bello has on Friday, commissioned the 18,000 Seater-capacity ultra-modern Sports Stadium in Eket, Akwa Ibom State.
The Stadium, which was built by the Akwa Ibom State Government, is complete with a tennis court, standard rooms for dressing, referees, massage therapy, conference, doping and a mini-clinic, VIP lounge, eight marked lanes, as well as a Germany made floodlights and a standby generating set.
While inaugurating the facility, Gov Bello lauded the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel for building it, noting that the stadium would help to discover the budding talents from the state and raise them for both national and international sporting competitions
Bello also described the stadium as a fantastic facility, built on record time to encourage the young sportsmen and women of the state to make career in sports, which he noted was money spinning venture all over the world.
“Before I commission this stadium, I must commend my brother, Udom Emmanuel your governor for what he has done in this state. He is a great man with a great heart given his development path in every in every sector of the state economy.
“Nothing comes easy now anywhere in Nigeria and globally but your commitment and dedication to the growth and development of Akwa Ibom and her people through your numerous achievements despite this difficult time, have shown clearly that you are a great leader.
“You have used the resources available to the state judiciously in the areas of infrastructure, education and sports among others.
“With the commissioning of this fantastic 18,000 Seater-capacity Stadium here in Eket, it is my believe also that it will encourage young boys and girls from Eket and indeed the entire Akwa Ibom state to excel in the act of football and other sports to become superstars in the world”, Gov Bello stated.
In his goodwill message also, the governor of Oyo State, Mr Seji Makinde who said he lived in Akwa Ibom from 1995 to 1999, noted that the state has changed considerably for better.
He described Governor Udom Emmanuel as a visionary leader who focuses on things that unite the people, saying that at 35 years of creation, Akwa Ibom has become a fastest growing state in Nigeria.
In his remarks, Emmanuel noted that the multi modern Eket Sports Stadium is built for both the youth and sports community in the state and Nigeria at large, adding the provisions of the facility is one of the major drivers of talents in the state.
Governor Emmanuel announced that the first major competition due to hold at the stadium would be the Nigeria Police Sports Festival planned to take place in the last quarter in the year.
He also used the occasion to reassure the people of Eket that every ongoing project in the area would be completed within the life-span of his administration which would end in May 29, 2023
The Governor however stressed saying, “Even if the contractors will not want to work, we will push them to work.”
He thanked the indigenous contractors for delivering on the stadium project according the specification and raising the bar of confidence that they can handle more complex projects which were hitherto used to be given to foreign contractors.
Earlier, Mr Monday Uko, the Commissioner for Youth and Sports said that the stadium was built by the indigenous contractors from the state.
Mr Uko expressed satisfaction with the quality of work done on the new 18,000 seater-capacity Stadium saying that it would serve as a rallying point to harness and develope the abundant raw sporting talents in the state.
The commissioner said that the facility which came out of the rubbles of the demolished old Eket sports stadium would relieve the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo of the burden of hosting many major sporting activities in the state.
He added that it would also provide an alternative match venue to the many professional football clubs in the state plying their trade in the Nigerian Professional Football League and the Nigerian National League.
Meanwhile contractors who handled the construction of the stadium have expressed satisfaction with the work they have done but advised that a strategic maintenance plan be adopted.
Among the special guests of honour at event were the former governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema and current governor, Alhaji Aminu Masari represented by the Commissioner for Youth and Sports.
Other highlights include the friendly match between Akwa Utd FC and Katsina Utd FC which ended in 2-1 goals in favour of Akwa Utd.