akwa ibom stadium_0The 30,000 seater stadium was unveiled by three Presidents, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of , Alhassan Quattara of Cote d’Ivoire and John Dramani Mahama of Ghana, the first time in Nigeria that three Presidents were present in a function in a state.   “Governor Akpabio has shot Akwa Ibom into international reckoning. Not only has the state become a tourist destination, it has become the nation’s new Mecca of sports’’, an overwhelmed Umanah who worked tirelessly to co-ordinate the world press that were in attendance for the opening of the stadium said.

“Akwa Ibom is blessed to have him as Governor. He has changed the face of the state, touched the lives of the people, provided indelible infrastructure. He has taken the state to the pinnacle and the people are happy’’, Umanah said. At the Commissioning of the monumental stadium, Governor Akpabio said he was more interested in placing Akwa Ibom youths at the forefront to compete favourably with other youths of the world and to bring honours to the state and the country.

“There is going to be more Serenas to be discovered in Akwa Ibom. More Evander Holyfields will emerge from this state. We have realised that sports is a multi-million dollar earner. Those in sports earn more than Governors. And I want Akwa Ibom youths to rub shoulders with them, make names for themselves and for the state and country’’, the sweet-talking Governor Akpabio said amidst sporadic applause for him. Even President Goodluck Jonathan was moved by the amazing performance of Governor Akpabio that he re-called the sad old days when flood threatened many homes. ‘’Those days are gone as Governor Akpabio has transformed the state with his uncommon approach to governance,” the President said.

…FIFA man wants special protection for turf

licensed FIFA agent and sports facility expert Ebi Egbe has warned that the Uyo stadium turf should not be used for athletics field events if the grass must remain lush green and smooth.

Egbe who watched the home Eagles play Ghana during the stadium’s commissioning ceremony last Friday said the magnificent arena must be properly maintained, even as he described it as a befitting nest of champions.

His words: “I think Governor Godswill Akpabio deserves all the accolades he is getting over the stadium, but the big challenge now is that of maintaining it. I m happy he has given the job to the construction outfit that built the stadium. But beyond that, to ensure that the turf remains green and smooth they must not use it for athletics field events like hammer throw and javelin. Using it for athletics field events will make the pitch to become uneven and it can equally make the grass to wither no matter how much it is watered. Those managing the stadium should use it for track events and create a different area for field events when it comes to athletics.”

It would be noted that world athletics governing body, IAAF has certified the edifice for athletics events. The stadium boasts an eight lane tartan track and another six lane warm up track. The first athletics events at the arena is billed for later this months during the NNPC/Mobil sponsored secondary school athletics championship.

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