Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike on Tuesday gave the sum of N50 million to the Local Organising Committee (LOC) to host the 14th West Africa University Games (WAUG), which will begin today at the University of Port Harcourt.
But this hasn’t gone down well with members of the LOC who say the amount fell short of their financial expectations from Rivers State government.
The Games, which will run from today till November 12 at the University Sports Centre, will see over 65 universities across West Africa in attendance.
Some arrived in the Garden City yesterday with over 5,000 athletes, 800 technical officials and coaches expected at the ten-day event.
Wike responded yesterday by issuing a cheque of N50 million for the LOC to stage the Games, a gesture one of the officials described as ‘far below expectation’, Guardian writes.
“Our budget for the Games is N750 million. We were actually looking forward to get at least N200 million from Rivers State government with the hope that the Federal government will also respond to our call for financial help. But we were shocked to hear that Wike only gave a cheque of N50 million for us to host the Games. It won’t go anywhere because the amount will not even solve the problem of one sub-committee. Our appeal is for the governor to give us more money to stage a befitting WAUG,” the official stated.
The LOC member added that the official arrival date is today, with the opening ceremony set for Saturday.
“Most of the events won’t take off until Thursday and Friday. The opening ceremony will take place on Saturday, November 3, and we have put in place programmes for a spectacular ceremony, which will include lighting of the games torch, star parade, cultural dances, art exhibition, goodwill messages, acrobatics and fireworks display to entertain the visitors.”
The University of Port Harcourt are the defending champions of the games.