Paul Obiajunwo, Port Harcourt
The Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it received the news of the disqualification of Nigeria’s representative in this year’s Confederation of African Football (CAF) Confederation Cup, Dolphins FC of Port Harcourt with sadness and embarrassment.
In a statement by the State Chairman of the party, Bro Felix Obuah and signed by his Special Adviser, Media, Jerry Needam, PDP described the development as unfortunate, saying it is another proof that Governor Amaechi and his APC led government have failed the State at all fronts.
The party regretted that having killed the legislative and judiciary arms of government in the State, Amaechi has carried his strings of failures to sports which had been a veritable source of unity and pride to the people.
According to facts available to the PDP, a catalogue of debts owed players of Dolphins by the Rivers State Government include: sign on fees for 2 years, 6 month salary arrears and backlog of several match bonuses.
The party said the disqualification has vindicated its position that Amaechi has emptied the State’s treasury in order to fund the APC campaigns.
The statement said: “ in course of trying to raise money for the Dolphins Confederations Cup campaign, Rivers Sports Commissioner and the General Manager of Dolphins chased Governor Amaechi to Lagos where he now domiciles but could not find him as he was said to have travelled to Abuja. The duo then went to Abuja only to be told he had returned to Port Harcourt.
“When the two officials eventually met the Governor in Port Harcourt, he was said to have told them he had no time for Dolphins nor any other club at the moment, as all of Rivers monies are being channeled to the APC project.
“The development prompted the officials to approach the League Management Company (LMC) to enable Dolphins make the Tunisia trip. The LMC was said to have given them a loan of N15 million which enabled them to depart Lagos to Tunisia. The team arrived Tunisia very late and were walked over and thrown out of the competition.
“The party noted with amazement that if Abia State could sponsor Enyimba FC; Kano Pillars by Kano State and Warri Wolves by Delta State Government, why would Dolphins’ case be an exception given that Rivers State Government receives more allocation from the federation account”
The PDP however expressed fears that the same fate may befall even Sharks FC of Port Harcourt and other sporting clubs who are dependent on the government for funds.
“It is against this background that the PDP sympathizes with Dolphins and the teeming lovers of football in Rivers State and the country at large on the disqualification of Dolphins.
“The party assures Rivers people that the PDP would install a sports friendly government that would give adequate support to Dolphins, Sharks and all other clubs owned and funded by the Rivers State Government.”