Kehinde Adewole, Ado-Ekiti
Oye-Ekiti, headquarters of Oye Local Government Area of Ekiti State, recently organised a sports contest to provide jobs, promote unity and reduce poverty in the community.
The contest was a football tournament among the youths, which lasted for a week. It was concluded with a grand finale on January 3, with a raffle draw and worship/jazz concert. The event drew hundreds of people in the community, especially youths, together, even as the participants in the raffle draw won different gifts. Prizes won included table fan, iron, refrigerator and cash gifts, among others.
Among the dignitaries that graced the event were the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mr. Awopeju Adewunmi, and some members of the House of Assembly, led by the Speaker, Funminiyi Afuye.
The grand finale of the football tournament featured two teams from two quarters of the town – Araromi and Egbe – which had earlier defeated several other teams from the town.
Cash awards of N50,000, N30,000 and N20,000 were given to the first, second and third positions, respectively. Araromi Quarters, which won the competition, also got a beautiful trophy.
Mr. Segun Oke, organiser of the programme, financed the competition through his organisation, Bridgewaters Foundation, in collaboration with the Oye Youths Association. He said the community embarked on the project to get rid of unemployment, develop the sports potential of the people and harness the cultural potential of the community for growth and development.
Speaking about the programme, he said: “The news making the rounds that Oye community is fighting is not true. What is true is that the new Oye Kingdom is having an exciting competition in a football league. The yearly football tournament is over 100 years old. It is being organised mainly to promote unity among us. I took part in it as a young boy in this community. We have now rebranded and repackaged it to fight poverty, build youth potential in sports and promote youth engagement. It is also being done to bring together all the people that make up Oye kingdom, promote unity and preserve our cultural heritage. We also want to raise stars among our youth and create jobs.
“Bridgewater FC is sponsoring the programme and local business people who have supported the programme have had the opportunity to advertise their businesses and showcase their commitment to social development.
We keep promoting the relationship between businesses and sports. We see business, small or big as local business in order to ensure that they are made to promote growth and development.
“We are experimenting with the league here to see how we can use sports to create economic boom. We will promote some of the participants who have excelled in this contest. We are creating a new model. We are working towards creating wealth with sports. We will build on this to see how we can use sports to create wealth for our community, the state and Africa as a whole.
“We also use the medium to express our gratitude to God for keeping us and we enjoin all our lovers and friends and all illustrious sons and daughters of Oye to join us to celebrate.
“We are also using the platform to mine ideas from the young people who worked together to make this happen. We want to know how we can better organise our sport and social engagements to generate wealth and job. If our economy must develop, we must place value on indigenous creativity and youth engagement.”