Renown football referee, Paul Omuagu, has been engaged as the lead referee in the ongoing “Lawrence Emareyo Peace Cup” being played at the Ughelli General Field in Ughelli Delta State.
The football competition was kick-started by an opening match between Oteri and Emeragha communities at the Ughelli General Field, the venue of the 30 days tournament.
According to the organiser, Chief Lawrence Emareyo, the football event is targeted at promoting peace between warring communities such as Ekuigbo and Otor-Iwhereko in Ughelli North and Okwagbe and Owhawha in Ughelli South.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, he said he has decided to put the competition together out of his love for the Urhobo nation and not because he was having enough money to throw away.
He pointed out that peace was paramount to the development of any society as it was the first thing investors lookout for before investing in any place, adding that football is one thing that brings people together and promote peace.
He said, “I am from here, Ughelli. I grew up here and have always enjoyed peace here. Some of the communities around, for instance, Ekuigbo and Otor-Iwhereko, the crisis that do come up everytime instigated this competition.
I live in Abuja but I took it upon myself that the only way to try to bring peace is to organize a competition like this. Football is a game that does not know enemy. Everybody come together to play and I believe at the end of this competition that we have started, Ekuigbo and Otor-Iwhereko, which are the people we are targeting, will have peace.
“This is the first edition of the competition. It is a continuous process. The youths are my target and with a tournament like this we will be able to identify talents and impact on them.
“The good ones that we will see among them, we will pick them and take them to the next level. I believe with this initiative, gradually, we are going to take them off the street one after the other and it will also dissuade their minds from anti social vices,” he stated.
Emareyo further advised the youths to continue to give peace a chance, noting that, there was nowhere violence have ever helped in solving problems.
In their separate remarks, the monarch of Ughelli Kingdom, Wilson Ojakovo, Oharisi III, the Ovie of Ughelli and the Chairman of Ughelli North Local Government Council, Mr. Godwin Adode, both commended Lawrence Emareyo for putting the competition together.
Oharisi, who was represented by Chief Sunday Ogheneovo, the Izomo of Ughelli Kingdom, said that it was not the absence of war that guarantees peace but by ensuring that peoples’ basic needs are provided for.
Adode, who was represented by the Secretary to the Ughelli North Local Government, Felix Oderhowho, called for more similar gestures from well to do individuals in the society geared towards promoting peace in the local governments.
Twenty registered Urhobo Communities including, Otor-Iwhereko, Ekuigbo and Okwagbe would challenge for the grand prize of N1million.