The Executive Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani has come under intense criticism following his trip to London to watch Saturday’s Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal.
Residents of the state on Monday described the governor’s visit to Stamford Bridge as “frivolous” considering the financial problems of the state.
However, the governor explained on his Twitter page that he was at Stamford Bridge to watch the match at the instance of Chelsea midfielder Mikel Obi, who plans to set up a football academy in the state.
“I was at Stamford Bridge to watch the derby between Chelsea and Arsenal at the invitation of John Obi Mikel,” he wrote
According to him, Mikel approached the state government to partner with the state in developing its sports, stressing that it will be wrong to turn down an investor who is willing to invest in the state.
The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Ibraheem Dooba, said Bello was in Europe and his visit to Stamford Bridge was part of his itinerary since he was to meet other international development partners, adding that he was invited by Mikel.
But a trader, Moses Akwu said, “Things are hard for us in Niger while our governor is travelling to watch matches. I heard they said he was invited but is it not government resources that he used to go on the trip?
“We did not vote him in to watch football, we voted him because we want him to work and bring back the lost glory of the state. Watching matches is not governance, it is absolute recklessness.”
Another resident, Gambo Mohammed, said the governor needed to focus on governance.
“Sports development is not what Niger State needs now. We need jobs for our unemployed youths, boost for our economy and agriculture, and good roads.”
Bello had on August 31 warned sports officials not to use his name to organise sports competitions. He made this known when board members of the Nigeria Chess Federation and the state hockey team that won the National Super League visited him.
The President of Nigeria Chess Federation Suleman Gora had requested to organise a national championship in his honour which he objected saying, “I am not a billboard.”
-Culled from Punch