September, 12 2022.

The Ondo State football sector is on its way to be thrown into turmoils as Ondo State Government had perfected plans towards selling off Sunshine Stars FC to highest bidders.

We have on good authority, Mr Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and his Deputy, Orimisan Lucky Ayedatiwa have set machineries in motion in putting up the club set up by former Military Administrator of the State, Col. Ahmed Usman in 1995 for sales any moment from now.

It should be recalled that on August 4, 2022 in a press release issued by Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Richard, Olatunde, 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.

It's very unfortunate that in the last few days plans were in the ofing towards outright sale of the club despite total rejection of the unpalatable idea by stakeholders.

According to competent sources, the sales of Akure Gunners is placed in 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.

It's mind blogging, Akeredolu led Government is executing this selfish idea without putting the common interests of Ondo State people into consideration and despite all previous assurances from his government the Club, which is Ondo State peoples "pride, treasure and heritage" wouldn't be sold for a peanut!.

Who are people advising Mr Governor wrongly in taking this rash decision?. Is it not Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu we all knew was a 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?.

He hasn't built a stadium at the State's capital, Akure while the old one built many years ago is yearning for serious attention!.

What legacies would Governor Akeredolu like to be remembered for after his exit from governance 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're stupendfied 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 mar Governor Akeredolu's image as sports loving Governor in Nigeria.

It would further demonstrate to entire world incapability of Ondo State Government in managing ordinary football club which are effectively managed for profit in other States.

Let it be mentioned once 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.

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 Eyimba 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 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.

While we have records of those misleading Mr Governor in taking some of these unpleasant decisions, we're appealing to these unpatriotic people to refrain from all actions that could plunge State's football sector into unmitigated disaster.

Otunba Dele Ologbese

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