By Saji Peters.
The Taraba gym, known as the Fitness for all Association was established during the leadership of former Governor Danbaba Danfulani Suntai.
By then the centre was a place to adore, which can be compared with notable gym centres with the stock of sophisticated machines and team of professionals on board.
At that time, the Taraba gym was accommodating the Commanding Officer of the 20 Mechanised Battalion, Nigerian Army, Serti, Commissioner of Police, Directors and Controllers of various security outfits, top political office holders and Royal fathers.
The pioneer Chairman of the centre was able to use his contact as one time SSG, and commissioner in various ministries to mobilise notable Tarabans, thereby making it a centre where top notchers in the state fraternise after various exercises.
The Secretariat was also manned by a seasoned secretary of the sports council, who at one time doubled as the secretary of the centre and the secretary of FC.Taraba, because of her proficiency.
When she was fully allowed to move to FC Taraba, Late Kennedy John, one of the instructors took over. That development later led to ill feelings among sports lovers in the state and a vacuum was created following a clash of interest, and subsequently, a revenue officer was posted to the centre to monitor financial transactions.
The Nurses unit Headed by Innocent Bala Kona, now SSA to the Governor provided health advice to members of the gym, checking of their BP and also ensuring that a good sanitary condition is maintained.
For the Sports writer posted to the area, he was able to shoot the first fitness film for the centre, and as a sports presenter, he also used the platform to advertise activities of the centre on Radio, Television and magazines.
For the cleaners, they always ensure that all machines used are cleaned immediately apart from maintaining a clean floor through sanitizers and antiseptics with security at the gate. The security men control the influx of uninvited guests to the centre considering the dignitaries involved.
Today, all has changed as the centre is fast losing its status as a once revered gym centre in the country.
The Sports Council, which was initially handling the gym centre has been relegated to the background as the Ministry of Youths and Sports is now charged with the responsibility despite being saddled with a lot of activities.
The Sports Council, without gainsaying, is better placed to handle the centre since the council has the Fitness for all Association.
Most members constituted by the former Governor were nowhere to be found owing to negligence by the authorities concern.
These days also the machines are hardly cleaned, and floors hardly moped.
In a recent interview with Doctor Danga Injuwe of the government House clinic who is a member of the gym, said the dust emanating from the ceiling is a threat to the health of the members while lack of cleaning of the machines might make some members to contact hepatitis and other diseases because of the sweat.
The gym center is now covered with bushes while the drainage systems have been blocked, making it a breeding ground for mosquitoes, scorpion and snakes.
Most of the members interviewed, expressed their dissatisfaction on the poor sanitary condition of the gym, calling on the authority concern to brace up to the challenge by bringing back its lost glory.
They also wonder what their monthly renewal fee is being used for.
In his comments, the Chief instructor of the center Coach Bakari Shamaki blamed the sorry state of the gym to the lack of payment of monthly renewal fees by members of the gym which triggered him not to take them for aerobics exercises one Saturday.
The instructor who is also the the assistant revenue collector, stated that they were able to raise a reasonable amount for the center, which is the best in recent years.
Also Speaking, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Youth and Students Matters, Comrade Solomon Elisha, stated that a meeting would soon be held with the various committees with a view to address the teething problems facing the center.
Without mincing words, the management of the gym needs to put the center back on track towards appreciating government good intention for its citizens in maintaining good health.
Government should also set up a Committee that would address problems of the center to maintain its standards.