I rode motorbike to survive in Uniben
By George Aluo
Bonnyface Peter Opia, a university don, is no doubt, on the pathway to stardom.
Opia last week in Lagos proclaimed a new football-like game which he invented.
The Kwale, Delta State born scholar while proclaiming the game called it ” God’s Own Project” that is bound to succeed.
Talking about succeeding, Opia, disclosed that for him as a person, it has been what could pass for “a long ride” right from his university days.
Opia said as a student he sustained himself on campus and paid his fees from his motorbike riding “business.”
Hear him: “Virtually all my classmates felt that I was from a wealthy home, given the way I took them out for lunch and paid for their meals on campus, but they never knew what I was doing for survival. I was not from a rich home and I never did anything bad to make money. What was fetching me money was my motorbike which I was using to pick and drop passengers to and from Motor Parks in Benin. That was in the 90s. I normally do wake up to do the motorbike riding runs by 5 am in the morning and return to campus to attend lectures by 7 am. I do the same thing between 7 pm and 10 pm in the night. That way, I made enough money to play the “big boy” on campus without my classmates knowing how I was making the money. In the midst of all that labor, I was also bent on doing well in my studies. That determination saw me graduating as one of the best students. For today’s youths, what that means is that if I can rise to where I m today even in the face of poverty, without being born with silver spoon in my mouth, they too can achieve greatness. All they need is hard work, focus and determination to turn things around.”
Continuing Opia said he had all along had the vision of coming up with something that can positively change the face of the world. This he noted propelled him into working on the new ball game project which he proclaimed in Lagos at exactly 1 pm on the 16th day of July, 2016 (16-07-16) , a day which he (Opia) pointed out was a unique date.
On the game proper, Opia disclosed that the new game is similar to football, but differs in many respects from the extant soccer game in areas such as field design, rules and method of play with invaluable new features that addresses major limitations of the current game.
He disclosed that the game is played not necessarily to put the ball into the net but to target and achieve specific goals while doing so.
According to him:”Three major goals that players of the novelty will seek to achieve are: peace and conciliation, gender equality and education and learning. Incidentally, these three goals are part of the 17 Social Development Goals unveiled by the United Nations at the 70th United Nations General Assembly.
“A unique feature of the new game is the role of a 12th player, which bears a crown in which the goals that players seek to accomplish are embedded, a feature that is inspired by a feature of baseball and cricket.
“It is a game in which penalty kicks can be taken with no goal keeper in post; goals scored under some conditions such as goals scored in the last minute are doubled; the goal post by design reduces the chances of the ball not crossing the line whenever it hits the cross bar. This soccer-like game can be performed on a playing field made of natural grass or synthetic materials.”
The university don said he introduced the sport as a way to enrich humanity with a game, whose utility rests not only in entertainment but will serve as a tool for promoting individual and organizational causes.
“We are convinced that the United Nations, individual countries and development organizations will find in the game a potent tool for promoting goal orientated behavior and mobilizing citizens for action.”
Opia said the new game would be administered by a soon to be set up international body, which unique feature is that its constitution will include multiple stakeholders such as former world leaders.
“There shall be a parliament representing people of diverse constituencies in different countries, whose voice shall count in decision making. The input of the parliament will be required in deciding allocation of hosting rights to international tournaments.
“The parliament will also be involved in resolving issues that may affect the outcome of matches. Tournaments such as the world cup that will be mounted for the new sport will be incorporated to ensure the full application of corporate governance rules. The involvement of the parliament in decision-making is expected to help reduce match fixing. The new game will be performed under three league systems dedicated to individuals, families and teams.”
The don, who said the rules and format of the new game will not conflict with football or the world soccer governing body, FIFA, added that the operational name of the game, standard field design, rules, method of play, administrative framework and related matters would be unveiled at a media launch slated for later this year.
“Ordinarily, we would have demonstrated the game practically during its proclamation in Lagos but that would now be at a later date and a venue that would go down in history as a place where the game was first played. And that venue would be a place that would be close to my heart as the inventor of the game,” Opia said.