August 20, 2022

Final goodbye to Victor Uwabor; school sports sensation

By Tony Eluemunor

In 1972, Mr. Victor Iwebunor Chukwuasiaokwo Uwabor, who was buried on Friday August 12, 2013 at his Obior hometown, Delta State, was a national secondary school sports legend.

In 1972 St. Anthony’s College Ubulu-Uku was an academic and sports power house in the then Mid-West state. That year, Uwabor alias Attila the Hun, won the school’s Victor Ludorum cup, for the best performer in sports. To win that cup, the athlete needed to be good in several track and field events.  Uwabor was an all-rounder and he won that laurel rather easily.

In 1972, Victor Uwabor was not just the local champion in his special track event; 800 metres. He was actually the champion of the then Aniocha Division which spread from Ubulu-Uku to Asaba, an area in which exists over six local government areas today. Then, and unlike now, the Amateur Athletics Association, existed at the Local Government, state and the national levels and since it was founded in

1944 it organised sports competitions at the various levels all through the 1970s.

By 1972, the Hussey Shield competition was for boys and the Lady Manuwa Cup was for girls, nationwide and the 1972 meet was in Kaduna. By 1972, St. Anthony’s College, Ubulu-Uku was famous across the entire Mid-West state for its sports prowess. Its football team was formidable; so too its teams in Basket Ball, Volley-Ball. In 1972, it was the winner of the Adeola Table-Tennis Cup in the Mid-West State.

In 1972, five Anthonian footballers were invited to the Mid-West Academicals camp—Football Captain Dike Pius (Mc Butcher), Okonjo Ogeah, Sunday Ezeana, Kabadi, Joseph Alika.

In 1972, the legend of St. Anthony’s College was near its past summit, reached in 1970 when one if its students, Peter Ofili was the fastest student sprinter in the entire country. In 1974, he emerged the best

male sprinter, and was ready to dazzle the world at the 1976 Olympics…but Nigeria boycotted the sports meet to protest against the apartheid government in South Africa.  After Ofili left St. Anthony’s

College for his HSC studies at Edo College, where I learnt he was college father to a certain young Ifeanyi Okowa (now Governor of Delta state and running mate to Atiku Abubakar in the 2023 presidential elections.

Victor Uwabor contributed a lot to the sports glory of St. Anthony’s College. As Athletics captain, he did all in his power to keep the flag flying. The school took the first position in almost all the

invitation relays it attended as Festus Ojogwu, alias Odobro effectively stepped into Peter Ofili’s shoes and became the school’s main sprinter. Yet, the major attraction St. Anthony’s presented at the invitation relays was the incredible sight of the human machine in top motion as Dike Pius (yes, the football captain and second relay leg, always created waves in his peculiar way of flying through the

tracks, often hitting his toes against some obstacle and instead of falling down, he would fly through the air like a thunder bolt and without missing a stride, would be the first to hand over his baton to

the third leg in the relay leg. And by the time Ojogwu would receive the baton, the shouts that would have rent the air was “Anthony’s Varsity, Anthony’s Varsity.”  The spectators would be left discussing

how Mc Butcher “dusted” his competitors.

1972 was Victor Uwabor’s year. He had easily emerged Mid-West champion in 800 metres and narrowly missed the first position in the Hussey Shield competition in  Kaduna. He continued his winning streak at St. Patricks’ College, Asaba, where other Anthonian sports legends also

became legendary; Sunday Ezeana and Dike Pius became some of their best footballers. While Ezeana was offered scholarship to the boarding House in Anthony’s, Mc Butcher received the same honours in SPC, Asaba. Uwabor and Patrick Anwuzia (alias Tee Mac), the founding Pastor of the Zoe Ministry did the same in field and tracks. Pastor Anwuzia was a champion hurdler.

Uwabor maintained his sports championship streak in various varsity games for the University of Lagos where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Master’s in International Relations.

Mr. Peter Ifeanyi Nwabuokwu, Uwabor’s classmate said this of him in “TRIBUTE TO A MAN OF CONVICTION AND GREAT COURAGE: Victor Uwabor ( a.k.a Attila the Hun) was in deed, a man of many parts. As classmates, we were the best of friends, as we shared the same dormitory (St. Cyril’s House) all our five years in school…1968 to 1972.

Attila was not just an amiable character but was a good sports man in school. He represented our dormitory throughout our school days in all the Inter House sports competitions, in 400 and 800 meters races. Same he did for St. Anthony’s College, Ubulu Uku, in various regional competitions between 1970 and 1972, winning laurels in the process.

He was also a state (Midwest State) athlete, as he represented the state in major national sports and athletic competitions in 1971/72.

Attila the Hun, will be missed by all of us, particularly his immediate family. My efforts to meet him in his Asaba home in March this year (we parted ways in December, 1972 after our WASC examinations), didn’t materialise, as he was indisposed. We had agreed to meet when next I visit home (Igbuzo). But fate had other plans.”

Rest on, our indefatigable friend, classmate and brother, until we meet on resurrection day. (Nwabuoku Peter, 1972 set) To Mr. Emma Ogbolu of the 1974 set, “Uwabor was intensely focused on his athletes. He took his sports training seriously, most seriously, so it was natural that he excelled.”Oh, I nearly forgot this; in 1972, Uwabor headed the school’s Cultural Troupe which also became storied owing to the laurels it won. Uwabor was a published playwright and authored numerous books on various

topics. Uwabor was an all-round winner who became a popular sports commentator when he was on the staff of Radio Nigeria, and a Pastor, too….  Despite the stardom he achieved, he remained ever humble. May his soul rest in perfect peace.