Cross River governor shuts Canaan Table Tennis club hall, goes tough on opposition


Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River has directed applicants for the 8,000 automatic jobs to enlist through their respective village heads.

In an attempt to decimate opposition in the state, the Cross River government has commenced a systematic clampdown on government appointees and associates that have refused to join the All Progressive Congress, APC, as the Canaan Table Tennis Club hall was Tuesday shut down leaving the athletes stranded.

In the latest move, the state government indefinitely shut the Canaan Table Tennis club hall that the state’s table tennis team and some members of the public use for training

Vanguard learned that the Director of Sports was instructed to shut down the place as this may not be unconnected with the refusal of the former Chairman of the State’s Sports Commission, Chief Orok Otu Duke to move to APC.

A notice signed by the Director of Sports, Mr. Etim Coco-Bassey Omara for the Chairman of the Commission and pasted on the wall of the hall in the stadium read;

“I have the directive to inform the public and athletes that the table tennis hall has been closed till further notice”.

When Vanguard visited the place, some of the players were sited stranded at the stadium as they had no place to train for the competition in Turkey next week and the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

But top sources in the commission said the directives came from the governor and it is political to checkmate any PDP sympathizer close to the government.

One of the table tennis enthusiasts, Francis Etang disclosed that the MOa showed that government has an equity shareholding of 40 % while the public holds the remaining 60%.

“The complex in the Memo of article and Memorandum of Association shows that the state government has an equity shareholding of 40 percent while individuals have 60 percent.

“The state Table tennis club has made the state proud in recent times. The cadet team came third in the just concluded National sport festival. Idongesit Udoka has won a gold medal in recent meet but was rather appreciated by the Kogi state governor, Yahaya Bello.

“The club through individual sponsors has been able to produce the likes of Aruna Kadiri, an Olympic semi-finalist and African champion, Funke Oshonaike and Offiong Edem, all African Games Champions, and Olympians.

“They have brought glory to the state at different point in time. Their sponsorship is largely from individuals as the state government had stopped the subvention to the Table tennis Club”.

When contacted, the Chairman of South South Table Tennis, Orok Duke, described the lockdown of the hall as very unfortunate.

“The athletes need to train there, so that the equipment do not go bad. Now look at what has happened, they locked the place without telling us.

”I didn’t know they have locked the place and I just hope it is not political…What are they locking it for. Is it for a security breach? It’s only the chairman of the commission and Governor Ayade that can explain better. The chairman said the governor asked that the place should be locked but all those things belong to us,” Duke said .

Duke who is also the incorporated Chairman of Canaan Table Tennis Club stated they were supporting Ayade but won’t join APC.

He said: “We are supporting him but it is just that I am not crossing over to APC. As an elder statesperson you cannot stop supporting government because you want progress in the state otherwise how else would I spend N3 million naira in last competitions to make them win laurels for the state.

“Why will I go to Edo and I spend money on feeding and other things and we won laurels. The children came back with all excitement to come and continue training to improve their skill only for the venue to be locked.

” Who locks down sports venue? There are more questions than answers. That is what I am facing that for the first time in the history of this state that a training venue will be locked down”.

Meanwhile, the state government in a notice and signed by the Senior Special Adviser Political to the Governor, Dr Peter Ojie, said the governor, Senator Ben Ayade has “approved interactive meetings with the under-listed stakeholders in Government.

They include; Cross River House of Assembly, Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants/Special Assistants, Chairmen of LGA/Councilors, Director General/Chairmen of Boards/Members, Party Executives (state and LGAs)”

There are speculations that the meeting is expected to extract loyalty from the stakeholders for the governor or anyone who is not ready to follow him in APC should resign.

Vanguard learned that the Commissioner for Climate Change and Forestry, Ntufam Donatus Etim, has already resigned.

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