Osa Okhomina, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has directed the immediate release of the balance of cash reward to the state athletes and sports administrators that participated in the last National Sports Festival in Abuja.
The immediate past administration of Chief Seriake Dickson had made the pledge as a reward to the athletes and officials following the performance of the state contingent to the festival where Team Bayelsa placed fifth.
A part of the pledge was redeemed just before the previous administration left office on February 14 this year.
Senator Diri on Friday gave the directive for the balance to be cleared when the Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Hon. Daniel Igali, led a procession of the athletes and officials to the Government House to celebrate with the governor and his deputy over their victory at the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
A press release by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted him as assuring them that their sports kits would also be provided before the contingent departs to Benin, Edo State, for the sports festival, which holds in a fortnight.
“I charge you to do your best. Contest keenly and fairly and return with laurels.
“I hereby direct that what was owed from the last sports festival be released with immediate effect. The balance must be paid before you leave for Benin. The other issues that you raised will be tackled administratively.
“I also assure you that your kits will be provided as well. I know that the indomitable Ijaw spirit will spur you on to achieving success,” Governor Diri said.
He charged the athletes to be worthy ambassadors of the state, stressing that it was incumbent on them to put in their best and win laurels for the state.
He promised to continually promote sports development just as he did while he was Commissioner for Youth and Sports and urged them to exhibit exemplary conduct while participating in the festival.
The governor, who expressed dismay that the state-owned Bayelsa United Football Club has been playing in the lower division of the Nigeria Professional League, challenged the team to work hard towards returning to the premier league.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Youth and Sports Drvelopment, Hon. Daniel Igali, said the athletes and administrators were in Government House to felicitate with the governor on his latest victory at the Supreme Court.
Presenting the state contingent for the sports festival to the governor, Igali expressed delight that he would no longer be distracted by the plethora of litigations against him and his deputy.
The Sports Commissioner stated that Bayelsa United Football Club just participated in a pre-season tournament in Port Harcourt and emerged second and expressed the optimism that under Governor Diri, the club would do better in the coming season.