The Federal Commissioner, National Population Commission, Sir Richard Odibo, has launched the Richard Odibo Foundation, to give a helping hand to indigent members of the society in the South-South region with Egini United FC, piping All Stars Football Club, 1-0 to lift the trophy during the football march organised as part of the launching ceremony of the Foundation.
Sir Richard Odibo presented three sets of jerseys, footballs and kits for the central referees, linesmen, coaches and other match officials as well as trophies before commencement of the game.
The event, which took place at the Egini Primary School playground in Udu Local Government Area of Delta State, saw executive members of the Union of Udu communities, leaders of Egini communities, political leaders from all walks of life, youths, women and elders converging on the playground to witness the launch of the Foundation with the football March.
The march saw the energetic young men slugging it out for 50 minutes, 25 minutes on each half with Christian Ese of Egini United scoring the only goal outside the box in the 11th minute of play into the first half.
All efforts by the All Stars team to cancel the goal advantage of Egini United were thwarted by the gallantry of the opponents and an enterprising goalkeeper.
There were beautiful displays of artistry by both teams, class in performance and visible hunger for achievement by the teams.
The march ended at about 4.40pm after 50 minutes of quality and exciting display by the teams.
The winner and runner-up were rewarded with cash prizes and trophies courtesy of the Richard Odibo Foundation, while the Man of the March, Christian Ese, who scored the only goal also got a trophy for that feat.
The high point of the occasion was the presentation of a pick-up van by the Foundation to Mr. Matthew Gorleh, an associate of Sir Richard Odibo to aid his business and give him some level of economic rearmament.
Earlier in his address, Sir Odibo promised to use the Foundation to help the less-privileged in the society, create jobs for them and train those willing to learn one trade or the other so as to give them some relief from the excruciating economic realities in the society.
“This dream was not borne out of my being a politician or a businessman, but driven by the spirit of philanthropy.
“Most of you are aware that I am a Rotarian. Rotary is service and in politics I have constantly strived to serve
“During my youth service days about 40 years ago, I had my first encounter with the ‘Almajiris’ in Jalingo in the then Gongola State. What I saw then frightened me.
“I told everyone that cared to listen then that Nigeria was sitting on a keg of gun powder. The country was unwittingly building an army of unemployed youths that may explode any time. Today the rest is history.
“However, today I am seizing this opportunity to raise an alarm and sound a note of warning to the whole of the South-South or all the oil-bearing or producing communities including Udu, of the danger of how poverty is stalking the land and the need to reinvent the social and economic consciousness of our people.
“Our oil has become a curse to us because our youths are no more interested in going to school rather they prefer a short course to making wealth.
“Most of our youths would want to be involved in illegal bunkering activities or go into internet fraud, ‘the yahoo boys craze’, that they erroneously imagine could launch them into instant wealth with all its attendant vices. If nothing is done now, the #ENDSARS experience will be a child play.
“Government alone cannot address the situation. This is why my wife and I have decided to establish the RICHARD ODIBO FOUNDATION with the sole objective of taking the unemployed youths off the streets through the provision of numerous skills acquisition centres.
“We want to encourage apprenticeship in various fields of endeavours like sporting events, carpentry, tailoring, mechanic, fishing among others.
“We have, therefore, decided to launch the Foundation today with a football march between two Egini teams viz: All Stars FC of Egini and Egini United FC, in line with the axiom that charity begins at home.
“It is our desire to extend this initiative to all communities that makes up Udu Ward 8 before the end of this year and eventually the whole of Udu and the South-South region.
“We have started receiving donations towards achieving our goals. One of our benefactors is ‘Kits Aid Hempstead’ in England and some other sporting outfits”, Sir Odibo added.
He called on well-meaning individuals and organisations to join the Foundation to do everything possible to avert the danger associated with the poverty of the mind, idea and lack of economic freedom ravaging the society.
Mr. Peters Omaruaye, a member of the Foundation, in his remarks during the occasion, commended Sir Richard Odibo for the laudable initiative, urging the youths to key into the vision in order to harvest from the goodwill of Sir Odibo for themselves and their family.
Present at the occasion were Elegbete Moses Odibo, Chief James Akpowan, Gibson Akporehe, Dr. Oyibo, Prince Austine Efoyibo, Secretary, Union of Udu Communities, Moses Segba, Legal Adviser, UUC and many others.