NSF 2018: Team Rivers Athletes May Pull Out Over Unpaid Salaries
Though the medals have started trickling in for Team Rivers at the ongoing National Sports Festival in Abuja, all is still not well in the camp of the contingent from Garden City it has been gathered.
Multiple sources hinted that a good number of the athletes in the Team Rivers camp are threatening a boycott the games over the non-payment of their salaries.
Some of the athletes that spoke on the condition anonymity claimed that have been 'abandoned and left to their fate’ by the Rivers State government, who they is only preoccupied with the 2019 elections.
Athletes and officials from Rivers State arrived Abuja late on Thursday evening and missed the parade and March past of the opening ceremony as a result, fueling speculations they may have already boycotted the event.
However, it was gathered that the contingent only left Port Harcourt on Thursday morning, hence their late arrival for an event which began less than 24 hours later.
"Is it not a shame that we left Port Harcourt yesterday (Thursday) for an event which begins today? How are we supposed to rest and prepare? It is a big shame on Rivers," one of the dejected athlete said.
Interestingly, Rivers State has been one of the more consistent states at the Sports Festival in terms of appearance and performance, frequently challenging Delta State to the top honours.
Unfortunately, the events of the past days which has now culminated in the threat to walk out from the NSF doesn’t give room for optimism as far as the Rivers State is concerned.
"Every festival we compete with Delta to finish first, but this time I think they should expect the worst. See the governor of Delta is promising one million naira to every gold medalist from their state, but what has our governor given or promised us?" one of the agitated athlete asked rather rhetorically.
"If you go to Rivers now, all they think about is 2019, not about us. But they have forgotten we make up the young population in the state and could decide the outcome of those elections. How will they campaign to the young people in the state?
"We are asking governor Wike to come to our rescue and pay our allowances or we would have no choice but to withdraw from the competition, which will be a big embarrassment for the state," he stated further.
The 19th National Sports Festival began on Thursday after a six-year hiatus, which saw Cross River failing to host since the last edition in Lagos in 2012.
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