By Izunna Okafor, Awka
The Otuocha Stadium, Aguleri, Anambra East, was agog over the weekend, as Leader of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the Local Government Area and State Commissioner for Power and Water Resources, Engr. Julius Chukwuemeka launched the groundbreaking Inter-Ward Football competition for all the political wards in the Council Area.
Known as the Solution Inter-Ward APGA Football Tournament, the first-of-its-kind event boasted a star-studded audience, including the Deputy Governor of the State, Dr. Onyekachukwu Ibezim; former member representing Anambra East and West Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Hon. Chinedu Obidigwe; former Chief of to Governor Willie Obiano, Staff Primus Odili; the Special Adviser to Governor Chukwuma Soludo on Youth Empowerment Programmes, Dr. Nelson Omenugha; the Chairman, Anambra State Sports Development Commission, Patrick-Estate Onyedum, among other distinguished APGA members.
Speaking at the occasion, the facilitator, Commissioner Chukwuemeka articulated the visionary goals behind the initiative, emphasizing its potential to foster community unity and provide a platform for youth development. He underscored the multifaceted benefits of sports, particularly its transformative impact on the lives of young individuals.
Highlighting the uniqueness of the football competition, Commissioner Chukwuemeka revealed that every player taking part in the competition must have an APGA membership card, aligning sports with political engagement.
Expanding on Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s achievements and innovative projects, Commissioner Chukwuemeka spotlighted the conversion of thousands of diesel-powered streetlights to solar in different parts of the State, and applauded the Governor’s visionary initiatives.
While rallying the crowd to keep supporting the Governor Soludo-led APGA Government, the Commissioner who currently pays 49 elders in the local government area salaries from his own salary, further promised sustained dividends of democracy to the people, even as he revealed plans to unveil more programs and initiatives catering to all age groups and gender in the local government area.
Kicking off the tournament at exactly 5:04pm, Deputy Governor Ibezim, commended Commissioner Chukwuemeka’s initiative as a model for grassroots development and community engagement. He urged the youths to embrace sports not only for physical fitness but also as a lucrative career, even as he re-echoed Governor Soludo’s broader initiatives aimed at creating opportunities for all and giving sense of belonging to all individuals, all sectors and all parts of the State.
Aside teachers recruitment, youth empowerment, health workers recruitment, road construction and general infrastructural developments so far championed by Governor Soludo’s administration; Deputy Governor Ibezim also seized the moment to shed light on some unprecedented actions of the Governor, including his recent historic visit to Orumbanasa, a community never by any previous governor in the State, both under the military or the civil rule.
According to him, the journey, which the Governor undertook through various modes of transportation, including boat, tricycle (Keke Napep), and motorcycle (Okada), showcased the administration’s unwavering commitment to reaching every corner of the state and leaving no community untouched by the transformative wave of the APGA government in Anambra.
While advocating for continued support for the Soludo-led APGA Government, Deputy Governor Ibezim emphasized the importance of a healthy lifestyle, aligning with Mrs. Nonye Soludo’s campaign on Healthy Living. He further re-echoed the First Lady’s call on the people to always exercise dirty and eat clean, as a good principle of healthy living.
Deputy Governor Ibezim’s official kick-off of the match marked the crescendo of an event poised to etch an indelible mark on Anambra East’s sporting landscape, epitomizing the commitment of the Soludo administration to holistic development, inclusivity, and community engagement.
The resounding cheers that followed signaled not just the victory on the field but a triumph for unity, progress, and the sustained spirit of APGA in Anambra East.
The inaugural match, featuring Otuocha Ward 2 and Umueri Ward 2, unfolded with thrilling actions, culminating in a triumphant 3-1 victory for Otuocha Ward 2 against their opponents, all in the spirit of brotherhood and Onye Aghana Nwanne Ya — the golden mantra upon which APGA is founded.