The All-Stars FC of Abakaliki is organising novelty football matches and other sporting events to propagate the spirit of sportsmanship and need for peaceful governorship and House of Assembly elections in Ebonyi, an official has said.
The leader of the club, Donatus Ogbutor, said this in a brief speech at the end of Wednesday’s opening encounter between the club and selected football enthusiasts at the Pa Ngele Orita Stadium, Abakaliki.
Ogbutor said that the programme was initiated as part of the club’s contribution toward hitch-free polls in the the state.
According to him, “We canvass for peaceful elections because Ebonyi will continue to exist even after the elections.
“We intend to use the matches to enlighten politicians on the need to pursue their ambitions with the spirit of sportsmanship where the loser congratulates the winner at the end,” Ogbutor said.
He said that the club was revitalised as a result of the sports friendly policies of Gov. David Umahi’s administration which, he said, also benefited other bodies and groups in the sports sector.
He thanked the governor for giving a facelift to the stadium and other sports facilities in the state.
Ogbutor said that the improved facilities at the stadium had helped to sustain the interest of the members of the club in the round leather game.
“So we feel that the governor be allowed to complete his second term in office to consolidate on these gains, which have helped to rescue the sector death,” he said.
In a brief remark, Charlse Akpuenika, the Commissioner for Youth Development and Sports, thanked the club for using football to propagate the need for peaceful elections in the state.
Akpuenika, who is a member of the club, described football as an avenue to preach peace and harmonious co-existence in the society.
He said: “Players from competing teams still shake hands and embrace one another, in spite of the outcome of matches.
“It is necessary that politicians and other segments of the society should emulate this spirit.
“We are happy with the solidarity and support being given toward the governor’s re-election and we assure you that more should be expected when he is re-elected.
“Sportsmen and women in Ebonyi have received a new lease of life due to the policies and programmes of the present administration.
“This accounts for the resuscitation of different sporting activities in the state after several years of inactivity,” the commissioner said.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the club comprises retired local and foreign-based players.