As the 2022 Delta National Sports Festival come to an end, Sports-loving individuals have called on the Taraba State Government to give priority to the sports sector, describing it as a unifying factor.
Mr. Joseph Yohana, Jerry Jerimiah, a footballer, and Isa Bilal, a supporter of Taraba Football Club spoke to our reporter in Jalingo on the just concluded 2022 Delta National Sports Festival which took place in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
They expressed dismay on the way and manner the present government is handling the development of youths and sports in the State.
They described the Jolly Nyame stadium which was built during the regime of the former Governor Rev. Jolly Nyame as one of the best in the country, if not the best because unlike other stadiums you will only have the main bowl as the football field.
They affirmed that Taraba state stadium is a complete sports complex where there are fields for all games in one place.
With all the edifices, they alleged that the state has nothing to show on the ground since the late Governor Danbaba Suntai’s administration’s tenure ended in 2015.
“As of then we have a formidable football team that is flying the image of Taraba across the country and the entire world but unfortunately the state doesn’t have a football team now because the interest of sports is not a priority to them.
“During the late Danbaba administration, there was a yearly sports festival that was held at the stadium, where all the local governments are mandated to sponsor athletes and the governor personally use to grace the opening and closing ceremonies,” they noted.
According to them, many athletes were discovered at that time, alleging that a few years back the stadium had been in dilapidated condition and had become a venue for political, religious, and wedding programs.
However, they observed that when a sports lover, Coach George Shitta was appointed by Governor Darius Ishaku as the Director of the Sports Council now the place is regaining its lost glory despite the inadequate funds.
Meanwhile, on the Delta 2022 NSF which ended on Friday 9th December 2022, the Taraba state Director of sports, George Shitta has described the general performance of the state athletes at the Festival as highly commendable.
Geoge Shitta who made the description in an interview with the sports Editor of TSBS at the Stephen Keshi stadium in Asaba, the venue of the festival said the athletes have shown a high level of discipline and patriotism which earned the state three medals.
“So far the state has won silver and bronze Medals in Para- Tennis female category while in the male category of Kickboxing, the state made a gold medal,” Shitta revealed.
An investigation by our Reporter also revealed that money played a significant role in buying good athletes, and officials to secure gold medals for their states.
Responding to the allegations on the state government of neglecting the sports sector, Taraba State Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Hon. Hassan Bappa described their claims as false, adding that they lack knowledge of how the system works.
“Well, that’s their own opinion but honestly is not true they don’t know the system and how it is working.
“the governor is doing his best to support and promote sports to a certain level, currently our contingent is in Delta state participating in an ongoing national Sports festival, and money was released to that effect.
According to Hon. Hassan Bappa, all the tennis courts at the Jolly Nyame Stadium have been renovated and revealed that currently, Governor Darius Ishaku is planning to establish a sports Academy to train and support the youths in all aspects of sports in the state.
“With this, I believe you will strongly agree that this man has passion and love for sports,” Bappa emphasized.
Further investigation by our reporter revealed that some states including Taraba arrived at Asaba a few days before the end of the festival as a result of a lack of funds which was believed by some individuals as responsible for their poor performance.
The Public Relations Officer of the Taraba State Sports Council, Mrs. Ruth Rimamsikwe told our report through a telephone that the state went with sixty-four contingents (64), and eight officials to Delta State for 21th NSF, and they are expected back home on Sunday the 11th December 2022.