Anger, bitterness over Ekiti athletes’ outfit at National Games

* Residents seek probe, sanctions; Assembly summons sports officials; as Oyebanji recalls GM

By John Odunjo

There were anger and bitterness in Ekiti State on Sunday over the poor outfit won by the athletes representing the state during the march past for the opening of the ongoing 7th National Youths Games in Asaba, Delta State.

Just as the state government described the development as unfortunate while the House of Assembly said it was embarrassing, residents and sport lovers said it was shameful.

While the outfits of the athletes of other states were colourful, glamourous and showed class, the dress of Ekiti State athletes, according to a sports lover, Bimbo Olola, was “shambolic”.

Olola said, “What we saw in the photographs that have gone viral on social media were oversized cheap white t-shirts on shots or trousers of different colours. Some of the athletes wore pants and others trousers and even jeans.

“Again, they wore pairs of slippers, sandals and boots for the sporting event. They were far from uniformity. It is shameful. What they did there is not good for the image of our state and they should be punished”.

However, the state governor, Biodun Oyebanji, did not waste time as he recalled the General Manager of the State Sports Council, Mr Adekunle Adeyemi, from the ongoing 7th National Games over the athletes’ poor kitting.

The governor directed Adeyemi to hand over to the next most senior official at the Games and return home immediately.

Ekiti State Commissioner for Information, Taiwo Olatunbosun, who made the disclosure in a statement in Ado Ekiti, said, “Adeyemi is expected to explain circumstances leading to the shabby kitting of the state athletes at the opening session, which photograph is circulating online”.

The commissioner, who described the development at the Games as unfortunate, maintained that “the state government made adequate provision for the team’s participation at the Games”.

He restated the Oyebanji administration’s commitment to providing platforms for Ekiti youths to exhibit their God-given talents in line with the youth development and job creation agenda of the administration.

Also, Ekiti State House of Assembly, as a proactive measure to avoid future occurrence of the situation, summoned the officials overseeing sports affairs in the state to appear before the House Committee on Youth and Sport on Tuesday 26th September, 2023 at 2:00p.m.

The Assembly, in a statement by the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Babatunde Oke, condemned “the embarrassment caused by the attires of the state athletes at the sports festival in strong terms”.

 * Speaker, Ekiti Assembly, Aribasoye

Oke said that the summon became necessary to unravel the circumstances that led to the athlete’s poor outfit.

He said, “The embarrassing attire of the state athletes at the said event did not reflect the values and standards the state upholds”.

Oke l recalled the Ekiti State House of Assembly, in its bid to promote and enhance sporting activities in Ekiti, recently passed the Ekiti State Sports Commission Bill into law.

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