Tournament Director of the Restoration Cup in Bayelsa State, Nigeria’s biggest grassroots football competition, Daniel Alabrah said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Senator Douye Diri, left an enviable record as Commissioner for Youth and Sports in the state.
Alabrah, who is Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Affairs and a member of the state PDP Governorship Campaign Council, said Senator Diri remains the best candidate for sports-loving Bayelsans in the November 16 election because of his antecedence in the sector.
Speaking to sports journalists in Yenagoa, the former professional footballer said Bayelsans and stakeholders in the sports sector recall with relish Diri’s days as commissioner in charge of sports.
“It was during his time as Sports Commissioner that Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens both won the national professional league in the male and female categories at the same time. The players and officials were well motivated as their allowances and other incentives were promptly paid.
“In 2006 as commissioner, Bayelsa came fourth at the national sports festival. This is the state’s best performance at the sports festival till date.
“Diri had a policy of automatic employment for sportsmen and women who excelled in national and international competitions. Many beneficiaries of this policy became coaches in the state sports council and are still grooming young talents for the state,” Alabrah noted.
He said stakeholders trust Diri just as they are upbeat and positive that when elected, he would replicate and surpass his previous performance.
“Diri has already promised to prioritise sports and that he would build recreational and sporting facilities in the eight local government areas of the state.
“He has said he would use sports to promote tourism through facilities such as the 18-hole golf course and polo ground already built by the outgoing Governor Seriake Dickson administration. Besides, Diri had always supported the Restoration Cup morally and financially.”
Alabrah challenged those talking about a “super sports agenda” by the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Mr. David Lyon, to show his antecedence in promoting sports in the state.
“You cannot give what you do not have. You cannot talk about a sports agenda that nobody can see. What my friend, Mr. Ebi Egbe, the CEO of Monichelle Sports Construction Limited, said Lyon would do for sports is still unknown and yet to be articulated by him or the APC candidate. Is it a closet agenda?
“No reasonable person will compare Diri’s track record with that of any other candidate in this election. He is head and shoulders above all of them because of his performance in the sector. Let them tell us what their candidate has done in sports and not try to promote a vacuous and empty agenda that is full of sound but lacks substance.”
Alabrah assured stakeholders of a return to the glorious days of sports development in Bayelsa under the Diri administration.