Ben Dunno, Warri
Outgoing Sector 1 Commander, Operation DELTA SAFE, Col. Alhassan Grema, has urged both political and community leaders across the Niger Delta region to focus more on promoting sports in their various communities so as to enhance peaceful coexistence in their areas.
Speaking in his closing remark at the end of Col. Grema Peace Football Tournament, held at the Army Barracks, Effurun, at the weekend, the outgoing Commander, described sports, especially the game of football, as the most unifying factor binding us together as a nation.
He stated that experience over the years has shown that Nigerians have naturally come to embrace sports, particularly football as a unifying factor, adding that this accounts for the reason why our differences were often buried when the national team plays at both local and international stages.
According to him, “The choice of football in promoting peace cannot be over emphasised going by the way and manner it has been accepted by all and sundry as unifying factor binding us all together, irrespective of our ethnic, political, religious and cultural differences.
“If any Nigerian team is playing today be it at the local or international competition, that is the only time you see people who are divided along ethnic and religious line coming together and putting their difference behind to cheer and support our team to victory.
“The level of patriotism often displayed by Nigerian when it concerns our national team is so overwhelming and that’s why am calling on both the political and community leaders across the country to encourage sports among their teeming able bodied youths so as to sustain peaceful coexistence with their neighbours”.
He thanked the organisers of the annual peace football tournament in the 3 Battalion Barracks, Effurun, and urged them to keep up the good job while seeking ways at improving on areas where they have noticed shortcomings in organising subsequent events.
Col. Grema also commended the participating teams for their show of sportsmanship throughout the duration of the tournament, adding that they have all proven themselves worthy to be called champions in their own right for identifying with the tournament.
The final game was between Golden Friends, Ekpan Vs Charlie FC, Army Barrack, with the later emerging the over all winner with 1-0 defeat of their opponent.
While the third place went to Eagle Football Club other footballers and teams who distinguished themselves in various field of the tournament were also acknowledged and honoured.