It was indeed a great funfair when the youths of Owa Kingdom and their well wishers, led by Hon. Innocent Agbomah, Leader, Ika North East Legislative House staged a massive rally within the Owa communities to sensitize the Ika people and their neighbours on the weeklong 50th coronation anniversary of His Royal Majesty, Dr. Emmanuel Efeizomor II (JP), OON, the Obi of Owa Kingdom.
The youths who left the Owa Palace in a motorcade at about 12.15pm on Monday, September 7, 2009 were accompanied by men of the Nigerian Police Force from both Agbor, Owa-Oyibu and other police stations, men of the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, the Motor Traffic Division, MTD the Red Cross, the Civil Defence, the State Security Service, men of the Joint Patrol Team and other security agents across Ika land. The procession sang and danced, moving through the Owa Alizomor village, through Owa Ofie.
As the group moved towards the Old Lagos/Asaba Road through the Old Abraka Road, Owa-Nta, with their vehicle head lamp, beaming and siren, blasting, they were joyfully welcomed into Boji-Boji town by the ever busy commercial motorcycle riders, Okada, who left their daily routine to join the rallying motorcade. Along the Old Lagos/Asaba Road, it was a heavy hold-up when residents from both sides of the town trooped out to welcome the entourage. Ibo traders along the busy Old road including market women, students from the College of Education, Agbor, all stood along the road to have a glimpse of the procession. Buildings along the roads had all their windows wide opened where some of those who could not move out to join the crowd were seen struggling to see what was happening. The procession which extended from the Traffic Light Junction to Morka Street Junction, opposite Saint John?s Catholic Church was indeed a sight to behold.
Those who spoke to Ika Weekly during the rally said they were very impressed by the large turn out of people. A trader who owns a bookshop along the Old Lagos/Asaba Road who pleaded for anonymity said that going by the number of people that have come out to join the rally, the Obi must have had a lot of influence on the people. "This is the first time I am witnessing a large turn out of people in my whole life. The Obi must be a very great and respectable monarch in this community. I am very much overwhelmed by this event," he said. Another middle aged man, a vulcanizer who works along the busy Old Lagos/Asaba Road said that he was very pleased to see such a great turn out of people. I thank God for the Obi. I am indeed very happy and I congratulate him. It is not only when a person dies that a crowd of people in motorcade should move with the dead for burial. At least it is good to celebrate a man when he is alive. Long live the Obi, long live the great Owa Kingdom," he shouted excitedly, as he began to pack his working tools to join the procession.
When the motorcade finally arrived the palace at Owa-Oyibu another crowd of well wishers who could not follow the procession were on ground to welcome them. It was then the Obi and his Chiefs also came out to say "welcome" to the youths.
Hon. Innocent Agbomah who led the procession told the Obi that the youths in Owa Kingdom have gone to let the people of Ika land know what was going to happen in Owa land. He said that the youths of the land have observed that the Obi has led the people with great wisdom; and so they have come out in their numbers to indicate their unalloyed support for His Royal Majesty?s leadership. He said that the youths are also praying for the Obi and his Chiefs and wished him more years on the throne of his fathers.
Responding, the H.R.M, Dr. Emmanuel Efeizomor II thanked the youths for their support and contributions towards making the 50th coronation anniversary a success. He said that the youths are part of the people that make up the kingdom, and so he will continue to carry them along in the overall development of the community. He also prayed for all the youths that came to the palace.
In a latest development the keenly contested youth football competition which final and semi-final were played at the Owa Primary School playground, Owa-Oyibu, Ika North-East Local Government Area, started at about 2.30pm. It was indeed a competition that saw the two teams for the final event, Owa-Alero Football Club and Owa-Nta Football Club getting fagged out at the blow of the last whistle.
During the third place match which was played at the same venue, just before the final competition, the Owa Ofie youths locked horns with their Owa-Oyibu counterparts who had earlier lost to Owa-Nta Football Club by 2-4 in a penalty shootout, after a goalless draw; thereby beating Owa-Oyibu 2-1 right inside their back yard, due to the tactful and mesmerizing antics of the Ofie boys. At the end of the match, both teams were however commended for putting in their best all through the game.
When the final event was kicked off by Hon. Justice (Chief) S.A. Ehiwarior (Rtd), the Okiroro of Owa kingdom, it all action in the football field from the blow of the first whistle till the last. The two teams, Owa-Nta Football Club, in their orange-coloured jersey and the Owa-Alero boys in their deep blue-colored jersey filed into the field to prove their superiority over each other. During the first half of the football competition, it was somehow difficult to determine which side was gaining the upper hand, even though a beautiful goal was scored by an Owa-Alero youth just 11 minutes into the match. The whole field went into a frenzy after the first goal by the Alero boys. At a time it became very difficult for the ever-increasing crowd of spectators to be contolled by law enforcement agents, as they kept pushing and pressing into the field to get a clearer view of the game.
During the second half of the competition, the tempo was kept up until about 18 minutes to the end of the match; when the vivacious Owa-Alero boys dropped in another surprise by scoring another goal. That second goal, however, dampened the spirit of the opposing side as they fought sluggishly till the end of the match. The competition ended 2-0 in favour of the Owa Alero boys.
Speaking after the competition, the coach of the winning team, Mr. Friday Otobo, aka, Coach said that he was very happy with the outcome of the competition. He explained that his boys have done everybody proud by putting in their best after months of rigorous training. He also thanked the match officials for a job well done.
Also speaking, the co-ordinator of the youth football competition, Hon. Innocent Agbomah, Leader of Ika North East Legislative House told Ika Weekly that he was indeed very happy for the success of the competition. He said that from the beginning of the football match to the end there was no serious casualty and that it all went according to plan. He explained that it was in the spirit of oneness and in commemoration of the 50th coronation anniversary of His Royal Majesty, Dr. Emmanuel Efeizomor II (JP) OON, the Obi of Owa kingdom and the Owa Day Festival, that the football competition was played. He praised the leadership of the Obi and the Obi-in-Council for supporting the youths in the area and prayed God to continually bless the Obi and grant him more healthy years on the throne.
Trophies were later presented to the third place winner, Owa-Oyibu Football Club, the second place winner, Owa-Nta Football Club and the first place winner, Owa-Alero Football Club. Prizes were also given to the best player of the competition and the best goal keeper in the presence of the chiefs and dignitaries at the occasion.