By Edem Edem Calabar
The Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Mr Williams Jones Eteng has said that the Assembly has make adequate provision for sports in the budget.
The Speaker who performed a kick off of the 4th edition of the Northwest Calabar Municipal football tournament, told newsmen, “The state house of assembly will do its bits in that regard by simply creating budgetary provision, especially in encouraging the sports commission.
“The Assembly was poised to return Cross River State to its number one position in football and other sports. That is all our responsibility. We cannot legislate on this but we can encourage full budgetary provision.
“The first football team came from Calabar, as we speak, in the national league, we cannot find our name anywhere, but when we see tournaments like this we need to encourage. For us in Cross River, we will encourage the sports commission to take up its responsibility.
“I was asking the organizers. From what I have seen now, the state can reclaim its position in the nation if we keep to the model of bringing them young and going forward the best talents. I have seen a lot of talents today and I think if we keep it up, we will discover a lot of players that will play for Cross River State.
“Other corporate organisations in the state should emulate the Northwest Petroleum Company in sponsoring competitions and community based initiatives as this. This is what we keep preaching; if big companies in this state if they do things like this, we will be better off as a state.
“This is what we pray for. This is what every day, even our laws keep emphasizing that every company should add value to the society where they are doing business. Also speaking, the Chairman of the tournament Organising Committee, Ntufam Donatus Etim said since the tournament started it has helped in checking crime rates as large number of youths are engaged.
“When football used to be mentioned, Calabar was often in the front burner but it has changed from that record and football has lost its place in the state, we no longer have school sports, where schools play against themselves; even community games where these talents are harnessed.
“But thank God for this tournament and a big thanks goes to the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Northwest Petroleum and Gas for their magnanimity over the last four years as far as this tournament is concern.
“We can tell you that some other states have borrowed leave from what we have done with this tournament in our community. Like in Delta state, this is going to be their second year of this similar tournament. We are also grateful for the media coverage this tournament has enjoyed as well.
“We urge other companies and even capable individuals to also look into similar sports tournament sponsorship like this. It should not be only football. Let other sports be given attention. It will surprise you on how much this state and country can generate as foreign direct investment and exchange if we have players from the state playing overseas”.
The take-home package of the tournament is now 250,000 for 1st position and 150,000 and 100,000 for 2nd and 3rd position respectively. We hope to improve on it as the tournament progresses. In the opening match, Ward nine defeated ward five by a lone goal.