Director General (DG) Bayelsa Football Tournament, which is also known as Prosperity Cup, Ono Kelvin Akpe has extolled to high heaven the exceptional qualities of His Excellency, Douye Diri, governor of Bayelsa state, for his magic wand that has revolutionized sports in the state and the reason behind the state’s huge successes and ascendency in sports in the last couple of years.
While speaking during a press parley with our reporter at the recently concluded SPOCS Scouting Tournament at Ikenne, Remo, Ogun state, the eloquent Akpe showered endless encomiums on Diri, saying that without him they wouldn’t be here today.
“Governor Diri is simply a magician. What he has done to sports in Bayelsa is nothing short of a miracle. Which is why we refer to him as the ‘Miracle governor’.
“It’s just amazing the kind of support we get from the state”‘, he said.
The DG of the largest grassroots tournament not just in Nigeria but the whole of Africa, said they stormed Ikenne for the scouting tournament with two teams, Bayelsa Starlets FC and Dream FA, courtesy of the governor.
“This is not about praise-singing the governor, his giant strides in sports are there for all to see”.
The founder of Bayelsa Starlets FC and also the promoter and sponsor of the club, stated that the competition (Bayelsa Football Tournament) did started during the administration of the former governor, Henry Seriake Dickson where they held three editions and took a team to the African Youth Cup in Cape Verde which Gov. Dickson was supportive.
But that however, when governor Diri came in, who was himself a former commissioner of sports under the previous administration, things took a different dimension.
According to him, “Diri has passion for sports. He has passion for the youths and the passion to impact in the lives of these young men and women. He gave us all the necessary support we needed to get to this level.
“Last year we had 195 teams in the first edition but this year we had 215 teams.
“The FA provides the support, the Deputy governor is there to drive us, while the Commissioner of Sports, Olympic Gold medalist, Daniel Igali is also there to ensure that everything is done well and that every facility we need is provided.
“The state has given us a lot of support. We have 24 playing centers across the state. Every local government has two centers with Yenegoa the state capital with 8 centers.
“We have excelled not just in football under Gov. Diri but in other sports such as athletics, wrestling, swimming etc.
“Bayelsa state is number two in athletics now going by the last sports festival. Some years ago, Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens won both the male and female competitions of the Aiteo Cup which is unprecedented as no other state has achieved that till date.
“The governor has done a lot in terms of sports development. He supports both scrabble and other sports”, he opined.
Akpe however berated the multi national companies domiciled in the state saying that they are not getting the kind of support they expect from them.
“Honestly, we expect more from the oil companies in the state but unfortunately we are not getting the kind of support we expected from them.
“There is the Local Content Office here in Bayelsa, there is AGIP but we are yet to really feel their weight”, he concluded.