It was indeed a carnival of some sort, with no shortage of pomp and pageantry amidst outpouring of love, goodwill, trust and support as the good people of oil producing area in their thousands, yesterday Friday 10th August, 2018, rolled out their drums, gongs, flutes and colorful masquerades to celebrate the birthday of one of their illustrious sons, Prince Dr. Henry Okafor, the Lion of Oil Kingdom. The venue was Shell Flow Station playground Ukwugba, Ohaji/Egbema LGA. A football spectacle which paraded an assemblage of some of the best soccer talents in the State provided a garniture to the entire festivity.
Christ Alliance Campaign Organization who was organizing a football competition tagged ”Anti-Thuggery/Unity Football Tournament for all the communities of Ohaji/Egbema LGA, had scheduled the grand finale of the several-month long soccer fiesta between Mgbirichi (Ohaji axis) Versus Obokofia(Egbema axis) to coincide with the birthday celebration of their Grand Patron, Prince Dr. Henry Okafor.
While the several-thousand strong spectators were been fascinated and thrilled with good football, some local women groups in their beautiful attires and a masquerade troupe were seen at different sections of the playground energetically providing additional entertainment.
Before the match kick-off, the officiating centre referee had graciously invited the birthday celebrant, alongside his lovely wife, beautiful children and well-wishers to perform cutting of cake in the middle of the pitch.
The hugely entertaining and pulsating football encounter, which nearly all the spectators present at the occasion, unanimously voted to have matched or even surpassed the same standard witnessed recently at FIFA World Cup in Russia, ended with Team-Obokofia beating their rivals @Team-Mgbirichi by Two goals to nothing (2-0).
Addressing the visibly excited crowd before the trophy-handover ceremony, the man of the moment, Prince Dr. Henry Okafor expressed his overjoyness and gratitude for the out-pouring of genuine love and enormous support by the good people of Ohaji/Egbema LGA and oil producing area at large.
Prince Dr. Okafor posited that the name of the football competition, ‘Anti-Thuggery/Unity Football Tournament’, was deliberately and carefully chosen to send out a healthy message to the world and the rest of Imo State in particular, that contrary to the ugly narrative which tended to negatively portray the intelligent and hard working youths of oil producing areas of Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta LGAs as nothing other than bunch of never-do-well, hooligans, miscreants, thugs, and street urchins, that the area is hugely blessed with an abundance of highly disciplined, educated, industrious and responsible individuals who have great potentials and talents to excel in any area of their choosing if sincerely encouraged and supported by whom it might concern.
Speaking further, Dr. Okafor revealed that the football competition would be extended to Oguta and Oru West LGAs and that winners in three LGAs would have an opportunity to lock horns with each other, in what should be a battle of supremacy in a three-team supercup tournament to determine the Champion of Champions. Prince Dr. Okafor further revealed that some of best talents discovered during the competition would be greatly assisted in the forward progress of their football careers.
Prince Dr. Okafor, while handing out some cash rewards, congratulated the winners and runners-up of the Ohaji/Egbema Anti-Thuggery/Unity Tournament and used the auspicious occasion to unofficially announce his desire and willingness to Represent good people of Ohaji/Egbema, Oguta, and Oru West Federal Constituency in the upcoming 9th National Assembly, promising that if giving the opportunity and Mandate to serve his people, he would deliver the goods to the Glory of God.
Hon. Gideon Meffor, the Special Assistant to the Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission and 2019 Ohaji/Egbema State House of Assembly hopeful was among the dignitaries who graced the occasion and also participated in the trophy/medal handover formalities.
Some Owerri-based young musical artists from the famous Mayormike Entertainment group, were in the arena to provide some side attractions
Highlight of the ocassion was the donation of a brand new siena bus to a member of the Christ Alliance Team, Comr. Emma Okwudiri as a reward for his dedication and mobilization effort in Ohaji/Egbema support of the 2019 divine aspiration of Prince Dr. Henry Okafor