BY: Nick Nwaneri, Calabar
The oldest sports club in Nigeria, “Calabar Sports Club” , is facing leadership tussle which might lead to its outright sale by the Board of Trustees members an alleged top government functionaries in Cross River state.
Crisis had rocked the Club in recent times, shortly after the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)Cross River state chapter held their rally within its premises…An impeccable source close to the club said, “allowing the PDP to use the premises of the Club had angered the state governor, Senator Ben Ayade, who it is alleged had shown interest in part of the club’s land and to achieve this, he is allegedly sponsoring a brand new executive thereby causing the current one step down forcedly”.
It would be recalled that it took the governor of River State, His Excellency Nyesom Wike , the grace of God to drive down to Calabar for the rally to hold.
Sources close to government said “this was a spite on the state governor who had earlier frowned at the incidence. BoT chairman had allegedly queried the Executives especially the President and Secretary of the club why they should allow PDP to use the venue for their rally.
Meanwhile, the Club rents its premises for occasions just to generate revenue for the up keep and running of the place.
However, the plan to sale out the edifice had emerged as BoT members have pitched tents against the current executive committee as events begin to unfold in recent times.
The Patriotnews Online reports that the same BoT were silent when the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo held a consultative meeting in the club a week earlier.
“In view of the above, the club is non partisan as any party or organization can hire its facilities any time any day, our sources added.”
It was further gathered that instead of BoT members clarifying the reason behind granting them (PDP), the use of its premises, it got the current executive committee suspended following a petition by two members of the executive without due process.
This ugly development did not augur well with most members of the club, as they were not given opportunity to defend themselves or create room for four hearing.
It was also gathered that “BoT went ahead to inaugurate an interim management committee without the knowledge of the executives and the general house.
However, the Annual General Meeting(AGM), slated for February 26th, to March 4th, 2022, which could created room to discuss the petition could not hold following a court injunction putting a stop to the already planned bye-elections for two position by BoT members.
The question now is “why is BoT interested in an interim management committee? Does BoT want to install a committee that will be loyal to it to carry out the already ‘alleged” planned sale of part of Calabar Sports Club land?, our sources queried.
It was gathered that because of the strategic position of the land, top government officials who are eyeing the land wants to catch in on the “sponsored leadership tussle”, and get them divide the land and sale to them.
Our sources also said that BoT members had met and concluded on setting up the interim committee against the wish of members.
For fear of being manhandled, the current President, Isa Yusuf, had thrown in the towel not to run for second tenure, our sources further stated.
When contacted, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees(BoT), Mr. William Archibong, denied the story, “saying it is unfounded anduntrue”
He said, “my friend, where did you get this kind of story. This is complete falsehood. It is absolutely not correct'”.
Both the current President, Isa Yusuf and past President, Dr.Umotong banged the phone on the Reporter after hearing that “I am a journalist”.
The Calabar sports club was founded in 1898. It is the oldest club east of the Niger. It was originally known as the European Club.
It has played hosts to several national events like the just concluded NUGA Tennis preliminary event. It also serves as a good environment for training our youths in various sports and keeping them out from the streets.