Ahead of the 2014 National Sports Festival scheduled to be hosted by the Cross River State Government, the state's Acting Governor Mr. Efiok Cobham, has inaugurated a reconstituted 24 man Local Organizing Committee (LOC) in Calabar to champion the planning of the event.
Members of the committee include The Acting Governor Mr. Efiok Cobham, Chairman, and Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, Mr. Patrick Ugbe, Vice Chairman and Mr. Egwu Egeh, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of youths and Sports will serve as secretary.
Other members are; Surv. Raph Uche, Commissioner for Lands and Housing, Hon. Legor Idagbo, Commissioner for Works, Mr. Bassey Oqua, Commissioner for Special Projects, Dr. Angela Oyo-Ita, Commissioner for Health, Rev. Takis Caiaphas, Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Sandy Onoh, Commissioner for Environment and Chief Akin Rickets, Commissioner for Information.
The Committee also has Chief Peter Ojie, Commissioner for Local Government, Mr. Odo Effiong, Special Adviser, ICT Development, Mr. Edem Ekong, Special Adviser, Public Transportation, Mr. Nzan Ogbo, Special Adviser Event, Hon. Ngim Okpo, Mr. Wilfred Usani, Special Adviser, Tourism Development,Mr. A;lex Egbonna, Mr. Rekpene Bassey, Mr. Igbe Aruku, Mr. Jude Amadi, Elenda Osima-Dokubo, Bruce Ijirigbo, Mercy Nku and Mike Aniah, Secretary to the state government.
Speaking shortly after inaugurating the committee in Calabar, the Acting Governor and Chairman of the committee, Mr. Efiok Cobham, asserted that "since the creation of Cross River State, this is the first time we are hosting the festival, some states have hosted more than once and we will love to use this opportunity to set a bench mark for the fiesta'.
He reiterated the state's readiness to successfully host the 19th National Sports Festival, tagged "2014 Paradise Games" which he said will be huge in contents with over 15 thousand competitors of Nigeria extraction from all over the world competing for laurels.
He maintained that 2014 is a big year for the state because it will also play host to the World Mountain Running Championship, a task he noted was enormous but assured that given its capacity in hosting events it will be fruitful and memorable.
The Acting Governor disclosed further that to meet their obligation towards the successful hosting of the event, the state has concluded plans to upgrade sporting and hospitality facilities in line with current realities to accommodate the huge crowd to the state.
Mr. Cobham pointed out that the state which is referred to as Preferred Destination for Leisure and Business will present the best show of international standard that the nation will be proud of given the caliber of persons in the committee.
"We have carefully selected you because we know your capacity to deliver and hope that we will deliver a national sports festival that will surpass any one since the inception of the event" he added and wished them fruitfully hosting.
Secretary to State Government, Mr. Mike Aniah, in his introductory remarks said that the National Sports Festival is the local equivalent of the Olympics, and that it's a very big project that must be delivered successfully to Nigerians.
He averred that the 24 man reconstituted committee which was carefully selected has less than 20 months to drive the plan towards the successful hosting of the fiesta.
Responding on behalf of the committee, the Vice Chairman and Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development Mr. Patrick Ugbe, assured the governor that the committee will not rest on it oars in ensuring that the best event of world standard is delivered to Nigerians.
He disclosed that the 2014 fiesta will be very significant because it will be the first event since its inception to be open to Nigerian professional athletes outside the country.
Mr. Ugbe further disclosed that Calabar being the first capital of the nation, will be hosting a symbolic event the same year the nation will commemorate the centenary celebration of its amalgamation, adding that the world should expect nothing less from the fiesta.