The Sam Ikpea-led board of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club (NFSC) has adopted the Onojie of Ekpoma Kingdom, Anthony Ehizojie Abumere II as its patron.
Ikpea said on Thursday in Lagos that the award became necessary after a careful observation of the Abumere’s contributions to sports development in Edo.
He said the NFSC was particularly impressed with the effort of the monarch and urged him to continue with his selfless acts in football development at the grassroots.
“We are here to honour our royal father, the Onojie of Ekpoma, HRH Anthony Ehizojie Abumere II having identified with development of football and other sports in Edo.
“Today, we confirm and decorate you’re his Royal Highness as our club’s patron because you have really done well and we are happy with your good deeds, even without waiting or calling for support.
“Your Highness, you have consistently sponsored the Ekpoma annual football tournament and wrestling championships, which have meaningfully engaged our youths which is a big plus to your reign.
“We have been watching you and these activities from afar and taking cognisance of the effect on grassroots football development, we cannot pay you back but to urge you to continue,’’ Ikpea said.
Responding, Abumere II said he was delighted to have members of the NFSC led by Ikpea, all the way from Lagos in his palace.
He added that he was surprised at the club’s statements, adding that he had always been passionate about youth development, especially in football.
“It’s a thing of joy for me today, to have this powerful body of Nigeria Football Supporters Club in my palace, I really appreciate your visit, I am honoured God bless all of you.
“Honestly, I am surprised at the testimonies being given about me by the Chairman, Ikpea, because I am fully aware that he is based in Lagos though he visits Ekpoma regularly, yet he took notice of our activities here.
“I whole heartedly accept the award to be the patron of NFSC, because you are doing well and living up to expectations, I will continue to support football and other sports,’’ he said.
The event had in attendance, members of the palace, village heads under the Ekpoma kingdom and Ahmed Aigbona, Chairman Edo Chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) among others. (NAN)