Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has declared open the first State Sports Festival on Sunday in conjunction with Access Bank.
He said the promotion of unity among people of the state was paramount to his administration, which was one of the factors among others responsible for the event.
The Governor who flagged off the festival tagged the “Prosperity/Access Unity Games” at Samson Siasia Sports Complex in Yenagoa, noted that his government realized that sports was medicine for the mind and body.
Governor Diri also stated that his government decided to domesticate the National Sports Festival to engage youths of the state and encourage initiatives that empower and create jobs as launch pad for national development.
The Governor expressed optimism that as the only homogeneous Ijaw-speaking state, the festival would cement the cord of unity among the eight local government areas participating in the games.
He appreciated his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Dr. Daniel Igali and other who ensured the colourful showpiece became reality.
In a goodwill message, Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, represented by the bank’s Relationship Manager, Mr. Kakiri Miebi-Flint expressed pleasure to collaborate with the state government to actualize its prosperity mantra.
Dr. Wigwe commended the state for its various achievements in the sporting sector in the last three years.
In a welcome address, Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, Dr. Daniel Igali appreciated Bayelsa State Government and the sponsor Access Bank for the foresight in hosting the inaugural prosperity games.
The Commissioner explained that the games will feature two hundred and forty team officials, one hundred and forty technical officials and one hundred and ninety-four officiating officials across the fourteen sports battling for two hundred and ninety-three gold, two hundred and ninety-three silver and three hundred and eighty-seven bronze medals.
He noted that the event would provide a platform to discover untapped talents in the state. Highpoint of the event was the colorful march past by athletes from the various local government areas, followed by the lighting of the unity games torch by renowned athletes from the state, prominent among them was Olympic silver medalist, Blessing Oborodudu.
In attendance were the wife of the Governor, Dr. Gloria Diri, Deputy Governor Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, Members of the State House of Assembly, Secretary to the State Government, Alabo Gideon Ekeowei, Chairman of the State Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Solomon Agwana and other government functionaries.