Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has said the promotion of unity among people of the state was paramount to his administration.
Governor Diri said this among others was the underlying factor behind the first Bayelsa State Sports Festival, which commenced on Sunday in conjunction with Access Bank.
The Governor flagged off the festival tagged the “Prosperity/Access Unity Games” at the Samson Siasia Sports Complex in Yenagoa, the state capital, noting that his government realised that sports was the best medicine for the mind and body hence its huge investment in the sector.
He noted that the best way to be prosperous was in one’s health, stressing that sports was not only a competitive event but also medicinal.
He also stated that his government decided to domesticate the National Sports Festival to meaningfuly engage youths of the state and encourage initiatives that empower and create jobs as launch pad for national development.
Governor Diri 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.
The Bayelsa helmsman appreciated his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, tCommissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Daniel Igali and those that worked assiduously to ensure the colourful showpiece became reality.
In a goodwill message, Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, who was represented by the bank’s Relationship Manager, Mr. Kakiri Miebi-Flint, said the bank was pleased to collaborate with the state government to actualise its prosperity mantra.
Dr. Wigwe noted that the state has had tremendous achievements in the sporting sector in the last three years, noting that the bank was working towards building a prosperous Bayelsa State through sports partnership.
In a welcome address, Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, Mr. Daniel Igali appreciated Bayelsa State Government and the sponsors 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 293 gold, 293 silver and 387 bronze medals, pointing out that the events would provide a veritable 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 of the state, 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, the state 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 PDP Mr. Solomon Agwana and other government functionaries.