By John Kayode
The Ondo State Football arena is on the verge of been thrown into crisis as the state government has perfected plans to sell off Sunshine Stars Football Club.
A competent source disclosed that the state Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and his Deputy, Lucky Orimisan Ayedatiwa have put machineries in motion to sell off the football club set up by former Military Administrator of the State, Col. Ahmed Usman in 1995.
“It should be noted that, since the birth of the football club in Ondo State no Governor both military and Civilian have ever plan to sell the state the club, why now?”
The source added that the sales of Owena Whales has been placed in the hands of Ondo State Information Technology Agency’s Chairman, Mr Olumbe Akinkugbe, an ICT expert who established the first tripartite tech hub in Africa and who assiduously is coordinating bids of interested foreign entrepreneurs.
The total sale off of the club was against the Public Private Partnership (PPP) idea muted by the government few weeks ago when he dissolved interim management committee headed by his deputy.
According to the statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Richard Olatunde on August 4, 2022; “Mr Governor ordered the dissolution of the Ondo State Football Agency’s Interim Committee headed by Deputy Governor and put management of the Agency under direct supervision of the State Commissioner of Sports in line with extant laws that sets up the Agency pending constitution of a proper Board. It also directed that efforts be intensified within one year to find a suitable investor to take over the Sunshine Stars FC on a Public Private Partnership, PPP arrangement. “
A football Stakeholder and facilitator of Ondofootballstakeholders Forum Otunba Dele Ologbese in chat with newsmen said It’s unfortunate that in the last few days plans were in the offing towards outright sale of the club despite total rejection of the idea by stakeholders.
He added that “it’s mind blogging, that the state government is executing selfish idea without putting the common interests of Ondo State people into consideration. Despite all assurances that the Club, which is Ondo State peoples” pride, treasure and heritage” wouldn’t be sold.
Ologbese asked ; Who are the people advising Mr Governor wrongly in taking this rash decision?
He said :”Is it not Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu we all knew was highly passionate football personality who heads youths wing of 3SC Supporters Club in early 80s in Ibadan and made invaluable contributions towards the sector in the country or how come he’s no longer interested in growth and development of game of football in Ondo State?.”
The current administration has not built a stadium at the State’s capital, while the old one built many years ago is yearning for serious attention!.
“What legacies would Governor Akeredolu would be remembered for after his exit from government in two years time if he sells the club and refuses to build Olympic size stadium like the international stadium Goodwill Akpabio built in Akwa Ibom which is the pride of the nation?.
“We are surprised that the sales of the club is being vigorously pursued without caution and we have absolute believe the action would have negative affects on state’s intimidating soccer record and also affect the image of Governor Akeredolu as sports loving Governor in Nigeria.
“It would further demonstrate to entire world the incapability of Ondo State Government in managing ordinary football club which are effectively managed for profit in other states.
“Let me reiterated again that the highly passionate and enthusiastic football stakeholders of Ondo State are seriously opposed to propose arrangement in selling the club including all its assets whose valuations are coordinated by the Deputy Governor.
“Ologbese advised that the sector is money spinning if right attitudes and approaches are explored by Government. Sunshine Stars FC can be transformed into a high class revenue yielding outfit like Enyimba FC, Enugu Rangers, Lobi Stars and host of others if it pursues players marketing packages with vigour and right professionals put in place towards driving the initiative effectively and efficiently.”
“It’s all about determination and high degree focus. If experts in players marketing are hired by Ondo State Football Agency (ODSFA)Board after its inauguration in few days time and necessary tools are placed before them, Sunshine Stars FC would record more successes and it would break even financially without unnecessarily depending on government’s fundings at all times.
He disclosed that stakeholders have the identities of those misleading Mr Governor in taking some of these unpleasant decisions, we are appealing to these unpatriotic people to refrain from all actions that could plunge the state’s football sector into unmitigated disaster.