Okon Bassey in Uyo
Two years after winning the Federation Cup, players of the Akwa Ibom State Government owned Akwa United Football Club have expressed worries over the inability of Governor Udom Emmanuel to redeem the pledges he made to them.
The governor had in the euphoria of the victory promised to pay each of the players N2 million bonus as well as a gift of a 2-bedroom apartment for winning the 2015 edition of the former FA Cup. The victory was the first time for the state since it was carved out of the former Cross River State in 1987.
Regrettably, almost two years after, Governor Emmanuel is yet to fulfill the promise to the players, this now raising fears in the camp of the team nicknamed the ‘Promise Keepers’ by their legion of supporters that they may never get the reward.
Some players who spoke on the condition of anonymity urged the governor to fulfill his pledge to the team.
The player alleged that besides not paying them match bonuses, the governor only gave them N50, 000 each after they qualified for the finals.
“The governor only gave us 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 (Federation) Cup competition,” alleged the player.
Some other players who spoke with THISDAY on condition of anonymity also disclosed that the immediate past Chairman of the club, Mr. Nse Ubeh and some officials of the State Ministry of Sports only took them to show some 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 apartments 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 which goes to show that they were not originally intended for us.
“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 some corrupt government officials or the governor has allocated them out to other people,” the players further alleged.
“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. For how long are we going to wait before getting the promises made by the governor?” queried the angry players.
When asked to throw light on the matter, the Media Officer of Akwa United FC, Mr. Mfon Patrick, admitted that the state government was yet to fulfill its promises to the players who won the 2015 Federation Cup.
He attributed the delay in disbursing the N2million and the 2-bedroom houses to the victorious players on the former Chairman of the club, Mr. Nse Ubeh, who he alleged did not submit a comprehensive list of the 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.
Patrick pleaded with the players to continue to exercise patience with the state government as Governor Emmanuel would make good his promises possibly when the club plays its next NPFL match with Enyimba FC at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.