The All-stars Football Club of Abakaliki has organised series of matches and related activities to canvass for peaceful gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections in Ebonyi State.
The competition came against the backdrop of general apprehensions in the State concerning possible violence during the Saturday elections.
The club consists of retired footballers both at home and abroad still engaged in football despite successes in various fields of endeavour.
Explaining their motives in Abakaliki, the leader of the Club, Donatus Ogbutor, noted that peaceful elections were imperative for national development, adding that Ebonyi State would continue to exist even after the elections.
Ogbutor further remarked that the club had been revitalised due to the sports friendly policies of the Governor David Umahi-led administration, which has also benefited other sports bodies and interests within and beyond the State.
Ogbutor said: “We will use the matches to enlighten politicians on the need to pursue their ambitions with the spirit of sportsmanship where the loser congratulates the winner at the end of contests.
“The provision of improved facilities at the Pa Ngele Oruta stadium among other interventions made our members to still be engaged in football and we would want such to continue.
“We feel that the governor be allowed to complete his second term in office to consolidate on these sporting gains which pulled the sector out from the doldrums.”
Commissioner for Youth Development and Sports in the state, Charlse Akpuenika, thanked the club for propagating the need for peaceful elections through the matches.
Akpuenika, who is a member of the club, noted that football is an avenue to preach peace and harmonious co-existence in the society and called on politicians to approach their ambitions with the spirit of sportsmanship.
Akpuenika added: “Players from competing teams still shake hands and embrace despite outcome of matches.
“The politicians and other segments of the society should emulate this.
“We are happy with the solidarity and support being given towards the governor’s re-election and we assure the people that more should be expected when he is re-elected.
“Sportsmen and women had been given a new lease by the incumbent government in the state and this accounts for the resuscitation of sporting activities after several years of inactivity.”