As the 2018 edition of the national sports festival berths in Abuja, the executive governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade has graciously granted approval for the participation of Team Cross River in the event billed to take place from the 6th to 16th December, 2018, in the federal capital territory, Abuja.
This is as the governor also approved the state to bid for the hosting of the event in 2020.
Recall that Cross River State was due to host the sporting fiesta few years back, but could not as a result of financial and logistical constraints.
Passing the torch and symbol of invitation to the state in a brief ceremony at the U.J. Esuene Sport Stadium, Calabar, the south south zonal coordinator, federal ministry of sports and youths development, Mr Sunny Obot, said: “We are here in south south today. We are commencing it from Cross River State, an indication to invite the state to participate in the national sports festival as being scheduled from 6th to 16th of December, 2018.”
He continued: “This torch is a symbol of peace. This torch is a symbol of unity… An indication also that Peace has come to stay in Cross River State; an indication also to meant that peace will ever continue to reign in Cross River State.”
Accepting the national sports festival torch on behalf of the state governor, the chairman, Cross River State sports commission, Chief Orok Duke, conveyed the governor’s approval for Team Cross River to take full part in the sports festival. He however expressed regrets over the inability of the state to host the event few years ago, assuring that Cross River would bid to host the national sports festival in 2020.
“On behalf of the Cross River State governor, Senator (Prof.) Ben Ayade, I accept this torch of unity. We are here openly acknowledging the fact that His Excellency in his benevolence has approved that Cross River State should take part in the upcoming sports festival.
“It is a matter of sadness and joy for Cross River State. Of course you are quite aware that since 2012 we took over, we were not quite able to host actually due to finances. We asked for a little support from the federal government to enable us host, but was not forthcoming. Now federal government is using that same money to host in Abuja. But the governor is not angry because this is the home of sports. Football started here in 1902. Cricket started here in 1902, same with hockey.
“His Excellency has given his approval that we should bid again to host the festival in 2020.”, Duke stated.