Amb. Dr. Unyime Ivy-King flanked by the executive team of the Ubong King U-15 Football Competition.

By Moses Nosike

One year ago, precisely December 26, 2020 the Founder/President of the Ubong King Foundation, Dr. Ubong Thomson King exited this side of the divide after a brief illness. Despite his sudden departure, his work and impact, through the activities of the Foundation he birthed, continue to reverberate.

Though faced with the challenges of losing its Founder unexpectedly, the Ubong King Foundation, under the capable leadership of Dr. Ubong King’s purpose partner and wife- Amb. Dr. Unyime-Ivy King- has  continued to make  impact and proven to be a force to be reckoned with in its drive to contribute to the actualization of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 4, which is to reduce at least half proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions and to ensure that young people acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development through quality education by the year 2030. Indeed the messenger may be no more, but the message continues to speak! His great legacies live on, nonetheless.

The Foundation has been unstoppable. In the months following Dr. Ubong King’s departure, it has received numerous posthumous awards for excellence from several notable platforms and continued to implement programs that have been geared towards the betterment of the youths- which was its Founder’s heartbeat.

One such programme is the Ubong King Under-15 Lagos Grassroots Soccer competition. On May 15, 2018, before his death, Dr. Ubong King in his office, presented trophies to the Lagos State Grassroot  Soccer Association, for the 1st edition of the sports competition, a gesture which signalled his belief that government alone cannot carry the burden of sports development in this country.

When the organisation approached him  through his foundation, to contribute his quota in sponsoring the Under-15 football competition, he didn’t hesitate, but saw it as an opportunity to help lift young persons out of poverty and lack. The first Ubong King under-15 football tournament took place at the Legacy Field, National Stadium Surulere, Lagos.  The second edition of the competition in 2019 was a huge success too.

In 2020, the tournament could not hold because of Covid-19. This year- 2021, as part of activities to honour the memory of its late founder and mark the first anniversary of his death, the Foundation had again donated trophies for the competition because of its belief that it would go a long way in uncovering raw talents that could be trained into formidable sports people to be reckoned with, motivating the youths, fostering unity and promoting healthy rivalry among the teams, and also affording scouts the opportunity to hunt for young talents.

This tournament has produced stars like Obafemi Martins, Taiye Taiwo and more.

The 2021 edition finals- which was tagged the 1st Ubong King Memorial Cup in honour of the Founder of the Ubong King Foundation, happened on December 26, 2021 after weeks of rigorous trainings. The teams played several  matches which culminated in the finals. The winners were awarded cash prizes to celebrate their wins and opportunities for mentorship. During the match, at exactly 3pm when Dr. Ubong King breathed his last, a one minute silence was observed in his honour.

The first edition of U-15 Ubong King Memorial Cup is an initiative to harness the skills and put to use the mental abilities of the boys under fifteen years of age (U-15). It is an initiative to groom young boys to become ideal men and great leaders for the future whilst bonding over football as a medium to deliver this initiative. By 2022, the Foundation is set to add under 15 girls to the soccer tournament.

Another event which took place on the 26th of December 2021 just before the finals of the soccer tournament as part of activities to mark the first year remembrance of Dr. King’s death, was  the unveiling of his Headstone, which was tagged– the Headstone Day. For this event, Dr. Ubong King’s  family had a private ceremony for close family, mentees and friends.

It has been a year of relentless impact as the Foundation continued to have impact sessions with the youths tagged- Ubong King Foundation hangouts. The foundation featured season entrepreneurs and speakers during those virtual sessions to engage with the young people and motivate them to bring out their creative abilities instead of merely depending on the government for handouts.

The Ubong King Foundation, is already preparing for its annual flagship initiative- Thinkation- on the 29th of January, 2022. Thinkation debuted in 2018  and its objective was to provide information through the various guest speakers invited to the platform,  that could help combat the growing unemployment and poverty concern in Nigeria and Africa at large. Dr. Ubong King used to say that hunger is God’s gift to man and that free food stops a person from thinking.

His greatest heartbeat was to wean young Nigerians and Africans of a dependency and entitlement mindset and get them thinking creatively and productively. He had a mandate to raise 500 million young entrepreneurs who would in turn create opportunities for others to make our country a better place to be. That vision still breathes though he is no longer here.

The burden of solving this problem was so heavy on Dr. King’s heart that he retired from the active day to day running of his Security, Maritime and Logistics Company- Protection Plus Services Limited- in order to channel all his energy, resources and time to the actualization of this mandate.

Thinkation is a creative merger of two words- Thinking and Education. It is an initiative which promotes the importance of infusing critical thinking into education in order to help participants acquire problem-solving skills that would be channeled to solving our economic problems and lifting many young people out of poverty.

The 2022 edition will be a hybrid event happening simultaneously virtually and offline. The theme is, “Create Your World.”

There’s a rich line up of experienced and seasoned speakers who are on standby to share their success stories of how they moved from one level to the next and creates impact in their fields of endeavour.

The Ubong King Foundation is grateful for the love and support of its partners, friends and family for making the past one year a remarkable milestone year, despite the exit of its Founder. It is set to do more in the coming year and contribute its quota to the development of youths in Nigeria, Africa, and beyond.

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