By Our Reporter
Players of Akwa United Football Club have expressed anger and disappointment over the continued failure of Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom state to redeem the pledge he made to the club after it won the 2015 edition of the Federation Cup.
In a fit of excitement after the club clinched the FA Cup for the first time, the governor had promised to pay each of the players the sum of Two Million Naira (N2million), in addition to a gift of 2-bedroom apartments.
But almost two years after Governor Udom announced the mouth-watering gifts, the victorious 2015 FA Cup champions are yet to receive the N2million and the 2-bedroom flats, a situation which has caused the players to question the integrity and sincerity of the governor and the Akwa Ibom State government.
Some of the angry players, who spoke to our correspondent in Uyo on the condition of anonymity, said from all indications the governor was not sincere from the beginning when he made the promises to them.
They also complained that the state government had failed to pay them match bonuses and allowances, adding that “the governor only gave us N50, 000 each after we qualified for the finals.
“The governor managed to give us the N50, 000 when we went to visit him at the Government House to formally inform him that we had entered the finals of the FA Cup competition”.
On the 2-bedroom apartments, the players disclosed that the then chairman of the club, Mr. Nse Ubeh and some officials of the state ministry of sports only took them to show them the houses at the 1,000 Housing Units constructed by the state government at Ikot Ekpene and Uruan local government areas.
“We were only shown the houses but the keys to the houses were not given to us. Again, the state government refused to give us the original documents of the houses for us to take legal and full possession of them.
“We were only given photocopies of the house documents and, of course, you know that you can’t claim ownership of a property with photocopied documents. We also learned that the houses have now been rented out to people who are presently occupying them.
“The governor keeps saying that he has redeemed his promises to us but we are shocked that up till this moment, we have not received the gifts. We think that it is either the gifts have been cornered by corrupt government officials or the governor has not issued them out.
“We have also met severally with the state commissioner of sports and the chairman of the club on the matter but they keep pleading with us to continue to exercise patience”, one of the players said.
When contacted, the media officer of Akwa United FC, Mr. Mfon Patrick confirmed that the state government was yet to fulfill its promises to players of the club who won the 2015 FA cup.
He explained that the delay in disbursing the N2million and the 2-bedroom flats to the victorious players was caused by the former chairman of the club, Mr. Nse Ubeh, who did not submit a comprehensive list of beneficiaries to the state government for necessary action.
The club’s media officer said the current chairman of the club, Mr. Paul Bassey has reviewed the list of beneficiaries to include not just the players but other personnel of the club like drivers and backroom staff among others.
He pleaded for more patience by the players as Governor Udom would make good his promises possibly when the club plays its next match with Enyimba FC at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.