Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State has appointed former Nigeria International and retired Director-General of the defunct National Sports Commission (NSC), Dr Patrick Ekeji, as his Deputy Chief of Staff.
Ekeji’s latest appointment was coming barely a month after he successfully carried out a previous assignment given to him by the state government as the chairman of a seven-man Imo Sports Commission Review Committee.
As the head of Imo Sports Commission Review Committee, Dr Ekeji used his wealth of experience to save the state government from what would have degenerated into a public embarrassment when he resolved an agitation by aggrieved athletes preparing to represent the state at the now postponed 2020 National Sports Festival.
The athletes were protesting over unpaid camping allowances ahead of the National Sports Festival earlier billed for Benin City, Edo State before Ekeji stepped in to pacify them amid allegation that they were paid pittance for their three weeks camping.
Commenting on his appointment, Dr Ekeji said he considered it as a call to duty to serve his own state and promised to give his best in ensuring that Imo State moves to the next level in all spheres of development.
He added that it was another opportunity to put the vast experience he gained in the Federal Civil Service where he rose to become the Director General of a major parastatal and occasionally served as acting minister.
Dr Ekeji once served Imo State in 1993 as Director of Sports before he was appointed the Director of Sports at the National Sports Commission in December 1994, Director of Sports Development at the National Sports Commission, 2001, and Director-General, National Sports Commission in 2009, a post he retired from in 2013. Ekeji briefly coached the national football team in 1986.