Basking in the euphoria of Team Delta winning the 18th National Sports Festival, tagged ‘Eko 2012′, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, has nicknamed the state as ‘Home of Sports’ in Nigeria.
Team Delta, were presented with the Gen. Yakubu Gowon Trophy at a colourful closing ceremony held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere yesterday. They won a total of 288 medals; 116 gold, 97 silver and 75 bronze to emerge overall winners of the Eko 2012 Games.
An elated Uduaghan, who graced the closing ceremony with his wife Roli, said Delta State has shown to Nigerians that it is the best when it comes to sports in the country.
“I believe that we have convinced the sports-loving Nigerians beyond reasonable doubt that Delta State is the ‘Home of Sports’ in Nigeria. By coming out as the overall winner of the EKO 2012 Games, we have shown once again that we are the best and we deserve our number one trophy,,” Uduaghan said.
Representative of President Goodluck Jonathan at the occassion, Chairman of the National Sports Commission, NSC, Bolaji Abdullahi, said the athletes discovered at the 13-day fiesta willl receive adequate encouragement from the government in their chosen careers.
“The athletes discovered at this events will be nurtured and given all the necessary supports so that they can be more useful to the country by winning laurels when they go for international competitions,” said Abdullahi.
The minister, however, praised Governor Babtunde Raji Fashola and the people of Lagos State for organising a successful festival.
“We appreciate the effort of Governor Fashola and the people of Lagos State for organising the festival this year. We thank them because they have done a great job by successfully hosting the Games,” he said.
The defending champions, Team Rivers came second with a total of 218 medals; 76 gold, 71 silver and 71 bronze. Team Lagos with a total of 183 medals; 65 gold, 47 silver and 71 bronze came third. In the fourth position were Team Edo with 25 gold, 23 silver and 44 bronze; a total of 92 medals, while Bayelsa won 19 gold, 17 silver and 23 bronze, a total of 59 medals to place fifth.
Meanwhile, representative of the Cross River State governor to Lagos, Commissioner for Sports in the state, Patrick Ugbe, says as the next host, his state will do its utmost to improve on the statndard set by Lagos State.
“Our plan is to package for Nigerians, a festival they will not forget for a long period of time. As the ‘Paradise State’, we intend to improve on what Lagos State did at the Eko 2012,” said Ugbe, who received the Flag of Unity from the Director General of the National Sports Commission, Patrick Ekeji. Top Nigerian musicians such as Wasiu Ayinde, KWAM 1, Wande Cole, Whiz Kid, Seun Kuti and Tu Face Idibia performed at the closing ceremony, which ended 9:38pm on Sunday.