Youth Games Kit Scandal Rocks Team Ekiti Camp

Sports council boss, officials to appear before Assembly Tuesday

General Manager of Ekiti State Sports Council, Adekunle Adeyemi will explain the poor kitting of the state’s athletes during the opening ceremony of the 7th National Youth Games in Asaba, Delta State on Saturday, the state government has said.

This came after Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji, on Sunday recalled Adeyemi from the on-going games in Asaba over the poor kitting of the state’s athletes.

While athletes from other states dressed uniformly during the march-past on Saturday, Ekiti contingent made the news for the wrong reasons after pictures of their athletes, kitted in white T-shirts with different shades of shorts, jeans and track trousers surfaced online.

They also complemented their improper outfits with different kinds of slippers and shoes.

Some of the Ekiti athletes were dressed in over-sized T-shirts, while some wore black pairs of shorts and pants.

In a statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information, Taiwo Olatunbosun on Sunday, the state government said it released adequate funds for the participation of the state at the event.

“Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji, has recalled the general manager of the state sports council, Adekunle Adeyemi, from the ongoing 7th National Youth Games in Asaba, Delta State to account for the poor kitting of the state’s athletes at the opening session of the competition,” the statement read in part.

“Adeyemi is expected to explain circumstances leading to the shabby kitting of the state athletes at the opening session, which photograph is circulating online. He was directed to hand over to the next most senior official at the Games and return home immediately”, it added.

Also, the Ekiti State House of Assembly has summoned the officials in charge of sports in the state to appear before the House Committee on Youth and Sport at 2:00pm on Tuesday September 26.

The Assembly, in a statement by the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Babatunde Oke, condemned “the embarrassment caused by the attire of the state’s athletes at the Youth Games in strong terms.”

Oke said the summon was necessary to unravel the circumstances that led to the athletes’ poor dressing.

“The embarrassing attire of the state athletes at the said event did not reflect the values and standards the state upholds,” Oke added.

Meanwhile, sports lovers in the state have called on Governor Oyebanji to punish the officials responsible for the disgraceful act.

“I find it difficult to believe that pupils of a village primary school can dress like this for a competition. This is a shame and portrays our state in bad light. We are not like this,” a sports enthusiast in Ekiti, Olamide Ajibade.

“The step taken by the state governor by recalling the sports council GM is apt”, he added, saying “The state government, apart from sanctioning those responsible for this act of sabotage, should pay more attention to sports, fund sports adequately and appoint professionals to handle the sector.”

Another sports lover, Gbenga Alewi, said: “Those responsible for this should be probed and punished.

“Look at how well dressed other states were. It has always been like this in the sports council. This is not good enough. Mr Governor should probe further, and those responsible should be punished.”

The appearance of the athletes also subjected the state to heavy criticisms online on Sunday, with most saying the state did not prioritise sports.

“The Ekiti State Government should apologise to their contingent to the 7th National Youth Games for making them appear like paupers and beggars. Take a look at the difference between their attire and that of Team Lagos,” a journalist, Bayo Adegboyega, posted on X.

“If you can’t cater for the kids, why go and embarrass them at a national event? The looks on their faces say it all,” Oluwasemilore Oyedokun said.