ROBBING PETER TO PAY PAUL: TALE OF FORMER AKWA UTD PLAYERS AND SUPER EAGLES

Ofonime Honesty

In 2015, Akwa United Football Club of Akwa Ibom State won Nigeria’s Federation Cup. Elated by the feat, Governor Udom Emmanuel promised houses and 2 Million Naira each to the 34 players and 6 officials of the team.

Two years after the victory, ten footballers who were members of the team are yet to receive their entitlements. The affected players featured prominently for the club during the said season.

Checks revealed that Governor Emmanuel had release the lump sum and house documents to the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr. Monday Uko.

The Commissioner however withheld the entitlements of the 10 players on grounds that they were signed midway through the season.

The affected players are: Edidiong Stephen, Bawa Aliyu, Kingsley Nathaniel, Okon Samuel, Saviour Abanga, Lukman Abdulkarim, Justice Ekpenyong, Ariwa Emmanuel, Solomon
Bitrus and Nsikan Etim.

Lukman Abdulkarim and Edidiong Stephen decried the manner in which their contracts were terminated.

Edidiong said: “We went for training, the gateman informed us that he was directed by management to tell us to pack our belongings, that we should no longer gain access to the team hotel and camp. We were not paid our severance fees and other bonuses.”

Lukman added: “We were told to leave the club after the former chairman Nse Ubeh was controversially relieved of his duty. I blame the Commissioner (for Sports) for this injustice meted on us. I don’t deserve this treatment. I won the FIFA Under-17 World Cup for Nigeria in 2007, and I was conferred with the Member of the Order of the Niger (MON). Monday Uko (the Commissioner) is also an MON. He should show me respect.”

Another player, Bawa Aliyu, said thus: “It has been really tough on us. We were bonafide players of the club. We featured in the Nigeria Professional Football League for Akwa United. We also played for the club in the Federations Cup. Why should our names be omitted? Nobody can enjoy the benefits of our sweat. The Governor should do the needful and look into the situation.”

While Sports Commissioner Monday Uko has remained defiant, vowing not to release the entitlement of the 10 players, players of Nigeria’s national team Super Eagles have been receiving multi-million Naira for each goal they score at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium during World Cup and Nations Cup qualifiers.

In one fell swoop, the team earned $30, 000 for scoring three goals past Algeria. Again, on September 1, 2017, the boys also bagged $40,000 for scoring four goals past Cameroon.

The Sports Commissioner Monday Uko has not frowned at the humongous goodies showered on the Super Eagles. Truth is, some players invited to the Eagles camp only come to warm the bench as substitutes; some don’t even make the bench. However, as members of the team, they partake in whatever goodies showered on the team. The affected former Akwa United players featured in several matches for the club during the season under review. Isn’t this an act of injustice?

Governor Udom Emmanuel should direct the Commissioner or any person that diverted the money to release same with immediate effect. The affected players toiled for the club’s success. Shortchanging them amounts to robbing Peter to pay Paul. This anomaly must be rectified now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *