By Cletus Opukeme, Warri
The third edition of Ijaw/Itsekiri Peace and Unity cup, also known as Comrade Sheriff Mulade Peace and Unity football tournament came to an end will Kolokolo fc emerged as winner as it scored 4-2 goals against Kurutie fc with a cash prize of N1m.in Ogborodo, Escravos in Warri South LGA, Delta state.
The grand finale football tournament attracted great personalities both from ltsekiri and ljaw ethnic nationality, representatives from the Pere of Ogbe-ljoh Warri Kingdom, the Olu of Warri, the Pere of Gbaramantu kingdom, Delta State Sports Commission, ex-Nigeria football internationals, Nigerian Army, Navy, Police Force, DSS, including the Executive Director of PIND Foundation, Mr. Tunji Idowu, who was ably represented by High Chief. Lawal Africas, Traditional Chiefs, Civil Society groups and other dignitaries.
The organizer of the just concluded Ijaw/Itsekiri Peace and Unity Football Tournament, Chief Sheriff Mulade, has tasked the State and the Federal Government of Nigeria to utilize the existing peace between the Ijaw and the Itsekiri ethnic nationalities in Warri South-West council area to embark on meaningful development of the area as a way of consolidating and sustaining the peace among the two tribes he described as “the economic live wire” of the State.
Chief Mulade who is the National Coordinator of the Center for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ) and the Ibe Sorimowei of Gbaramatu Kingdom, made the call during the grand finale of the peace and unity football tournament that held at Ugborodo Town on Saturday, December 3rd, 2022.
Speaking at the close of the ceremony, Chief Mulade frowned at the failings of the government to do the needful to attract development to the impoverished oil-producing areas especially now that there have been relative peace in the area.
“I am highly fulfilled for going through this process, a very tedious one, for bringing together these two ethnic groups that you can also ascribe as rivals,” said Chief Mulade in respect of the football tournament between the Ijaw and the Itsekiri.
“But today, they are playing peacefully for the past three weeks to this level. So we believe that they have done very well. And the purpose of this is to deepen and strengthen the unity of these ethnic nationalities in Delta.”
Continuing, he said: “You will agree with me that the Ijaw and the Itsekiri are the live wire of the economy of Delta. If these two ethnic groups have any conflict, the economy of Delta will be highly affected. So, when there is peace with these two ethnic groups, the government will have the opportunity and the avenue to develop the state.
“And it is also very important for the State Government to do the needful; they should be able to bring the desired development so that the people can also feel the impact of government. But then, even the State Government that we feel will use this opportunity to deepen the relationship of these people, they are not.
“But we also know that the States that we have in this country are beneficiaries of crisis because they benefit indirectly from security votes. So, when there is peace, those in government are not happy; they are always trying to create confusion. But we will disappoint them by continuing to deepen this relationship so that there will be peace in this area,” Chief Mulade assured.
The environmental and peace advocate also lamented the absence of officials of the International Oil Companies (IOCs) to complement other guests that were on ground.
“This is an oil producing community hosting the Chevron Tank Farm, a tank farm the State and the Federal Government boast with, that bring the government the revenue of the State. But does this community look like oil producing community? No!
“And when you look at today’s event, we cannot find any of the IOCs around to also complement the people on ground. And these are also people we reached out to in all ramifications, but we didn’t see any of them; we even went further to call some of them. Well, maybe today they couldn’t make it, but I know that in the previous edition they were here,” he noted.