Greg Nwadike popularly called “GOC” is the recently elected State Youth Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo State. In this chanced interview in Owerri, explained his reasons for initiating the Imo PDP Youth Football Championship for which the State Organizing Committee (SOC) was just Inaugurated at the party headquarters in Owerri.
Quite a package you had recently at the Inauguration ceremony of your State Organizing Committee of the PDP football championship.
Thank you. And thanks for accepting to partner with us.
So sir, could you quickly put is through the intent of that event?
Well, I made in my remarks on that day most of the objectives of this competition, and even were also explained by other members of the State Working Committee (SWC). You heard when our State Secretary, Nze Ray Emeana and our State Deputy Chairman, Sir Martins Ejiogu spoke on the aims and objectives of the exercise. Even the Chairman, Dede Charles Ugwu earlier hinted on the very purpose in line with his determination as Chairman of the main opposition party in the state to provide alternative governance system. But let me also add, that this coming from me, is my own little way of continuing with the Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha #RebuildImo’s Sports philosophy.I chose the idea of commencing this football championship as my own way of helping to drive that vision of using Sports to driving changes in the Young ones.What we just did was the Inauguration of the steering committee sort of; the setting up of a central Committee that would help the party through my office to successfully run this tournament till end. I have already directed my colleague Youth Leaders at the LGA levels to constitute their own Local Organizing Committees (LOC). Many of them had even started trainings. When I came on board as the Acting Youth Leader of our party in the state, I presented a proposal to the State Working Committee (SWC) on what I termed the _Imo PDP Youth Football Championship_. The party discussed this and gave it a nod. The State Congress came and a reconstituted SWC emerged headed by Dede Charles Ugwu. Now, the proposal was represented and he quickly gave his nod for its continuation. So, what you saw on the day of that Inauguration was simply Part 1, Scene 1 of programs lined up for this championship. I requested that the SOC be quickly inaugurated to enable members commence actions, and here we just had it granted by our party’s leadership.
What specific roles are expected of this Committee?
I’m sure you saw when I was presenting them with their appointment letters. The Committee was initially made up of 13 carefully and tactfully selected persons with proficiencies in sports, security and media managements. It was later expanded to contain additional members drawn from the Medical field. We also included additional women to capture our gender consideration. The immediate past Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Hon. Okey Eronini is a member. Part of their roles are stipulated in their terms of reference in the appointment letters issued them. The Committee is to design strategies and plans towards the successful hosting of the above competition which includes, but not limited to fund raising/sponsorship, fixtures, promotions/marketing, prizes, kick-off and final dates, etc.
When exactly are you kicking off and when do you expect this competition ended?
I just gave out appointment letters to members of the committee and they have started meetings. When you give someone a role, it’s better you allow that person some free hands to perform. All I can tell you here is that this competition will run throughout the Ember months, but when it will start and end are part of decisions the SOC will soon present to me, and then I will present to the party for consideration before divulging to you and the public. The Committee is working with me directly.
You stated earlier that you were driving the Ihedioha’s vision on sports. How does that event fix in?
You remember the Ihedioha’s stadia initiatives in the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo state? If Ihedioha was still in office, those projects would have been completed by now and sporting activities, especially football would have commenced on them in various LGAs. I remember an article I wrote in defense of that initiative when some ignorant critics were condemning it. The article was titled _”The Senses in Ihedioha’s 27 Stadia Projects”_ In that article, I tried to draw out benefits in the embarkation of those mini stadia projects among which were their propensities to extracting new, but hidden talents from our various localities. I also observed that drug addictism and cultism had become so rampant in the state because most youths these days no longer have alternative means of recreations. I recalled my growing up days in Orlu where the Orlu Township stadium was the congregating spot for Orlu youths. There, we had all sorts of sporting activities ongoing on daily basis, but more on weekends. We got involved in football, boxing, weight lifting, volleyball, handball, etc. It was also a place where boys and girls came to socialize. Those were the days when the likes of our football legend, the late Sam Okwaraji was discovered. Kanu Nwankwo and many other world stars today from Imo in various sports were discovered through this stadia sports recreations from their various operating localities in the state. But in our today’s Imo, it’s no longer the same, because previous administrations chose to play politics with everything. We now have our youths as trollers on the social media, political yoyo boys, beer guzzling, hemp smoking, cultists and Naija betting bunch of rifraffs only suitable for political thuggery. You see, Ihedioha’s stadia development would have changed all these things. Our youths would have been refocused and new talents would have since started emerging, especially through his relaunch of the Sports Festival which was headed by Chief Fan Ndubuoke. But the present administration in the state has become an aberration. Of cause, the APC as a political party has never believed in our youths. To them, Nigeria Youths are lazy. Youths in Imo are only useful under the APC government as tools for local vigilantes, ENTRACO taskforce and motor park agberos. Boxing, Taekwondo and football talents that would have been discovered through sports in those stadia are now being used as Street fighters and bus chasers. It’s very unfortunate. So, I am driving that vision by His Excellency, Emeka Ihedioha which aimed at re-orientating our Young ones into usefulness. That is mainly what we at the PDP through my office seek to achieve through this football championship. Like I already noted, members of the SOC were carefully selected beyond any political consideration. I never met the person we made the chairman of the committee until that very day. But I followed his track records and we settled for him. Kelechi Ekeh is his name, and he has promised to make this competition the envy of all. I’m also happy that this initiative was adjudged the first in the history of our great party by no other speaker but the Secretary of our party that day. I’m hoping that something like this would be replicated at the national level of our party. At the end of this exercise, the PDP in Imo is going to have a professional Club side that’s capable of competing with any other professional clubside in Africa. We are also inviting scouts from international club sides that are going to watch our matches. At the end, I am assuring you that some talents would use this opportunity we are offering them to travel overseas for professional engagements. This is what this championship is all about. I want to use my current position as the Imo PDP Youth Leader to impact on fellow Imo youths. I must appreciate the Imo PDP for giving me the platform. I’m highly indebted to my political leaders who saw in me some capacities. At the end, Imo youths shall be happy for it.
Who and who is qualified to play in this competition?
It’s open to all Imo Youths. The Chairman had already hinted that players would fly PDP branded jessies. So, anyone who publicly wears our jessey is our member. But I suggest that we hold on a while for the Committee to finally release their comprehensive work plans and rules. Let me also inform that competitions have started at ward levels among the 27 LOCs. We are being transparent in our selection of players from the grassroot. Thank you.