The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State has accused Governor Godwin Obaseki of wasting N70 million to fund the 2017 Okpekpe Road Race.
According to the party’s Chairman, Dan Orbih, the money, which was expended to sponsor foreign athletes, could have been used to develop sports at the grassroots.
Orbih also alleged that it was insensitive to have spent such money when the pension arrears of the retired civil servants had not been paid.
But an official in the office of the chief press secretary to the governor explained that banks and other development partners co-sponsored the event.
He stressed that the PDP ought to have commended the governor for spending less, saying such an international competition required a huge amount of money.
He said the PDP made the allegation because it was averse to the progress of the state.
The aide urged the people to support Obaseki to develop the state.
“If the PDP is talking about sports development, it should be reminded that the Okpekpe race is a way of developing the game and attracting global attention to sports activities in the state,” He said.
The governor’s aide added that the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) and the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) have listed Okpekpe race in the January to June calendar of global road races.
The government explained that Okpekpe race was the only one accredited in the country, with its officials having international rating and certified with a bronze status.
He urged the PDP members to participate in the race rather than criticising its operations