The Akwa Ibom State government has praised the grassroots development initiative of Mobil Producing Nigeria, Operator of the NNPC/MPN Joint Venture.
Speaking in Uyo on Saturday, during the closing ceremony of the two-week athletics holiday camping programme, Governor Godswill Akpabio said Mobil deserves commendation for "its consistency in the grassroots sports development over a decade in the state." In a speech read on his behalf by the Deputy Governor of the State, Her Honour, Lady Valerie Ebe, the governor noted that Mobil's gesture has contributed in no small measure to the overall development of sports in the state and Nigeria at large.
Governor Akpabio stressed that introducing the camping exercise for the 165 talents discovered in the previous championships shows that the organisers did not only go after talents from the grassroots but were also interested in the developing the young talents to attain international status, maintaining that the exercise took another dimension compared to the previous years.
"I acknowledge the numerous community development programmes which serve as a way of giving back to the society. Your involvement in sporting activities is a demonstration of concern for the development of talents at the grassroots," the governor noted.
Governor Akpabio expressed optimism that the talents trained in the two weeks exercise would represent the state and Nigeria in international competitions in no distant future.
He commended the organisers, coaches, and other facilitators for their painstaking effort of identifying and developing talents among the young ones for the benefit of the state and nation.
In his speech, the Special Adviser, Bureau of Youth and Sports, Mr Samuel George, said the programme was necessary to replace old and faded stars and also commended all those behind the initiative.
The state's Commissioner for Education, Professor Atim Antai, in her speech congratulated the athletes for being among the best to be selected and urged them to continue to practice what they have been taught.
MPN, through its General Manager, Public and Government Affairs, Mr Paul Arinze, said the camping and training of the athletes was aimed at taking the yearly championship to another level hence the provision of equipment, and training of the students to improve on their skills and tactics.
Mr Arinze observed that "the two weeks programme had exposed the athletes to extensive coaching and mentoring in the areas of drills, mobility, velocity, use of spike shoes and starting blocks among other equipment"
The students later exhibited some of the skills learnt in Calabar to the admiration of all present.