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iReporters News. 

Governor Udom Emmanuel has re-iterated his resolve to make Akwa Ibom the hub of sports development in Nigeria, promising that he will not relent until more international sports stars are produced from the state.

He spoke while declaring open the second Akwa Ibom Youth Sports Festival, Tuesday, at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo,

Speaking before a capacity crowd of excited students and pupils drawn from all 31 LGAs of the State, Mr. Emmanuel noted that the maiden edition of the Games has already brought tremendous benefits to the State and charged the participants to take the competition seriously.

The Governor, who identified sports as the most unifying tool for national cohesion said that his administration “will not rest until the likes of Serena Williams, Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, Lebron James and Usain Bolt are discovered in Akwa Ibom for the world.”

‘In six years to come, we are aiming at ensuring that in every starting eleven of the different levels of national team football, there will be at least five to six Akwa Ibomites’. ‘We want to discover the next Lionel Messi that is from Onna; the next Cristiano Ronaldo that is from Nsit Ubium’, he said.

The Minister of Youth and Sports development, Barrister Solomon Dalung, at the event, described Akwa Ibom Youth Sports Festival as a grassroots sports development programme critical to attaining high success and performance in international sports championships.

Represented by the Head of institution and sports development in the Ministry, Dr. Esther Oluwatoyin, the Minister pointed out that with the Sports Festival, Akwa Ibom State has been launched into sports excellence in the country.

‘The organization of this Sports Festival has presented the country an opportunity to discover sports talents that will fly the country’s flag at future international sports meets’, she said.

In his remarks, the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Sir Monday Uko, expressed belief that the Festival will help promote unity among students and put Akwa Ibom State in the limelight of sports development in the country and beyond.

Mr. Uko added, ‘we must place on record, Governor Udom Emmanuel’s immeasurable contributions toward leaving a legacy in sports development and we appreciate him for always being there for all of us’.

He thanked the Governor for sustaining the Games and solicited the cooperation of stakeholders towards the success of the event.

Gov Udom Emmanuel, whose penchant for sports development since assumption of office seems to know no bounds, has carefully introduced eye-catching incentives to this year’s Games to engender effective participation.

The Most Valuable Athlete, at the end of the Games, will be made to embark on an all-expense paid trip to attend national and international sports meets. Other special awards include, Best Behaved LGA, Best Behaved School, Best Behaved Games Master, Best Behaved Council Chairman, among others.

A cash prize of ten million naira awaits the eventual overall winners; five million naira for the second placed LGA while the third-placed LGA will go home with three million naira.



Various sports of the Festival, in Primary and Secondary School categories, will commence tomorrow, Wednesday, March 7, by 9am, at various centres including Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo Club, Uyo Township Stadium among others.

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