The Cross River Government will immortalise the state’s living and dead sports heroes through sustainable sponsorship of competitions, Orok Duke, Chairman of the State Sports Commission, said on Sunday in Calabar.
Duke told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that those to be immortalised included the late Nigerian boxing legend Hogan Bassey.
“Others are Oyo Orok Oyo, a late international sports administrator, and the late renowned sportswriter Bassey `Koma’ Ekpo will also be honoured through competitions to be organised by the commission.’’
NAN reports that Oyo was the first Nigerian member of the Executive Committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), and he died on Sept. 10, 2008.
Oyo, who died at the age of 86 in Calabar, was popularly referred to as the father of modern Nigerian football.
He served for 12 years as Secretary-General of the then Nigeria Football Association (NFA) and was a member of CAF Exco between 1974 and 1998.
Okon Asuquo Bassey, popularly known as Hogan “Kid’’ Bassey, was the world featherweight boxing champion in 1957.
Bassey was the youngest boxer to win the national flyweight title in 1950 at the age of 18 while in secondary school.
The boxing legend was a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 1958 and Member of the Order of Niger (MON) in 1979.
Duke further said Edidiong Odiong, a former Nigerian junior champion in the 400 metres in 2013 and now running for Bahrain, would also be honoured.
Odiong won gold in 200 metres for Bahrain, her adopted country, at the IAAF World U-20 Championships in Poland when she was 19 years old.
Duke also said Offiong Edem, a female tennis legend, and the late John Okon Ene, a former Nigerian international footballer, would be honoured through tournaments organised by the commission.
Duke, who also unveiled the programme for Gov. Ben Ayade Under-15 Football Tournament for Secondary Schools, said no fewer than 254 secondary schools had registered to participate.
NAN reports that the tournament is to begin on Monday across 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the three senatorial districts of the state.
Duke said the finals of the tournament would involve six schools at the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar between March 28 and March 31.
He said the opening match for schools in the Calabar Municipality would kick off at the U.J. Esuene Stadium on Monday.
“The essence of the competition is to engage the youths and foster peace. Adequate arrangements have been made for participants. This we can assure the parents of these young people.’’
Ekanem Ekpenyong, a Commissioner in the Sports Commission, also told NAN there would be N10,000 cash prize each for winners of the Best Defender, Best Midfielder and Highest Goal Scorer awards.
He said the prizes would be in honour of Christopher Edem, John Okon Ene and Bassey `Koma’ Ekpo respectively.