Present and past players of Akwa United football club of Uyo have expressed displeasure over Governor Udom Emmanuel’s failure to fulfil a promise he made to members of the victorious squad that won the AITEO Cup in 2017.
The furious players have threatened to embark on a protest as they further vow to rubbish the good name of governor who promised to splash cash on the players following the unprecedented achievement.
The Abdul Maikaba boys defeated Niger Tornadoes on penalties in a pulsating final, to win the second major football trophy for Akwa Ibom state in 2017, a feat that was celebrated by the club number one fan, Governor Udom Emmanuel.
Basking in the euphoria of the victory, the delighted governor promised to give the players a cash reward of N70million – to be shared among all members of the AITEO Cup winning team.
He said shortly after the victory: “Because we brought joy to the people of the state, by winning the AITEO Cup, all members of that victorious team will share N70million as a token of the state government’s appreciation for a job well done.”
The victory was the second for the club and the state since it was carved out of the former Cross River State in 1987.
However, almost three years after, players of the team claim that the governor is yet to fulfill his promise, majority of whom have dumped the club for greener pastures.
In a strong worded letter signed by three of the ex-players, they claimed have received signatures of 18 first team members of the 2017 Cup winning side and that they have resolved to storm the streets of Lagos, Abuja and Uyo to register their grievances with an open protest.
They plan to take advantage of the ongoing #ENDSARS protests across the country to drive their messages across.
They said in a statement: “As a reminder, the executive governor of Akwa Ibom state, Udom Emmanuel made a promise after our exploits in 2017 but till date, he has failed to match his words with action.
“Three years after, the promise keepers have refused to fulfill this promise, prompting us to come together with just one motive at heart.
“We intend to take advantage of the ongoing #ENDSARS protests, to mobilize Nigerians to help send our messages across. We have resorted to this, after every other efforts fell on deaf ears.”