Abuja, – The Peace for Free Advocacy Initiative, an NGO, has advocated the use of sports to promote peace in the country.
Dr Chris Kalu, Founder of the initiative, said this in Abuja at the end of the 2023 six-aside Super Cup, a Peace For Free Initiative’s novelty youth football competition for peaceful elections.
The competition, with the theme “Sustainable Peace Beyond Election”, played at the Denobles Sports Centre, Jiwoyi in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), FCT, was sponsored by the Peace for Advocacy Initiative, in collaboration with Fitness Football Club, Abuja.
Kalu, who is also the Convener, Peace for Free Lecture Series, described sports, particularly football, as a major driver of unity in Nigeria.
He said that the organisation was leveraging on the tournament to promote unity and sustainable peace among Nigeria youths.
He said that youths who constitute a greater percentage of the Nigerian population, has major roles to play in sustaining peace in the country and towards achieving the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“The National Bureau of Statistics estimates that 60 per cent of the country’s population is under the age of 25, placing Nigeria as the country with the youngest population in Africa,” he said.
Kalu said that since peace, unity and tolerance and dialogue remained the critical ingredients for a healthy democracy, there was the need to mobilise Nigerian youth to positively play their role towards sustainable peace in the country.
He said that at this moment of Nigeria’s democratic transition, the youth should not be allowed to sway to the whims and caprices of unscrupulous and unpatriotic political class.
“Election is an important part of democracy, which in itself is a process involving human and technological elements not absolutely immune from errors.
“Like all processes, democracy needs to be allowed to grow, to develop to maturity for most of the population to enjoy the promises and gains thereof,” he said.
The Chairman, Fitness Football Club, Abuja, Mr Oluchi Osi, said the Super Cup final was not just a mere clash of teams, but a celebration of unity, passion, and the beautiful game that unites Nigerians.
He urged Nigerians to come together as one, with a shared vision of a brighter future for football in the nation, saying that football remains a beacon of hope and inspiration for generations to come.
While commending the sponsors’ commitment to the growth of football at the grassroots level to provide young talents with opportunities to hone their skills and chase their dreams, Osi urged them to invest more in the development of the sports.
“Football, being the most beloved sport globally, deserves the very best infrastructure and equipment.
“Therefore, I call upon our esteemed sponsors to consider investing in new developments for the sport, such as a standard football pitch that adheres to and conforms with international guidelines and standards.
“A high-quality football pitch is not just a luxury, it is a necessity for the growth of the game.
“A proper playing surface not only reduces the risk of injuries, but also enhances the overall playing experience, allowing players to showcase their true potentials,” he said.
Osi said that investing in modern football equipment would undoubtedly contribute to raising the standard of the sport and nurture the next generation of football stars.
“As we continue to celebrate the Football Super Cup in Abuja, let us remember that sports transcend borders and unite people from diverse backgrounds.
“Let us nurture the spirit of football and strive to make it accessible to all, from the bustling cities to the remote villages,” he said.
NAN reports that Team Orji, which was the first runner up for the 2022 super cup competition, beat the defending champion, Team Oluchi 1-0, to emerge winner of the 2023 edition of the Super Cup.
Players for the two teams were selected via open draw from six football teams: Green, White and Gold; Fecotech Services Ltd; Soweto Chills; VeraGold Apartment; B&E Gardens & Hotels; and GMT Executive.
David Raymond of Team Orji, said that his team played well and earned a deserved victory at the tournament.
Blessing Eze, the only female player in the tournament who expressed excitement over the victory of her team, commended the organisers of the tournament.
Rotimi Daniel of Team Oluchi said it was unfortunate that his team lost the game, even though they planned well and also put in their best for the match. (NAN)