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‘Why we are using BOWFT to address girl/child issues’

By Christian Okpara
19 September 2022   |   4:07 am
Edo State First Lady, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, at the weekend, reiterated that the just-concluded Betsy Obaseki Women Football Tournament (BOWFT) goes beyond the activities on the football pitch...

Mrs. Besty Obaseki taking the kickoff before the BOWFT final match at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin… at the weekend.

Edo State First Lady, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, at the weekend, reiterated that the just-concluded Betsy Obaseki Women Football Tournament (BOWFT) goes beyond the activities on the football pitch, saying it addresses important issues in girl/child development.

Robo FC of Lagos were crowned champions of the competition after beating Edo Queens 1-0 with a goal scored by Oladeti Rukayat in the final game on Friday.

Speaking before the final game, Obaseki explained that her foundation is in football to fight against issues affecting the girl/child, adding that this year’s theme, ‘Say No To Drugs,’ addresses drug abuse and its attendant societal problems.

“We are not just doing football for football sake. There is a social goal behind it all. There is always a message to drive the competition.

“Last year, it was encouraging the girl/child to be educated and avoid child trafficking. “This year, it is against drug abuse. We are using it to raise awareness on the dangers of drug abuse.”

The final of the 10-day event featured scintillating cultural displays, singing, dancing and drumming, by to announce the end of the tournament.

As part of the competition, a seminar/lecture was organised, with over 10, 000 youths, eminent personalities, guests and representatives from Nigeria’s 36 states engaged in a discourse to advance the campaign against drug abuse, its various manifestations, impact on the sports industry and the larger society and the imperative for collective action to tackle the menace for the betterment of society.

Present at the closing ceremony were Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki; his deputy, Comrade Philip Shaibu; Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare; former Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung and governors’ wives from Sokoto, Enugu, Delta, Abia, Ogun, Oyo, Taraba and Bayelsa states, led by chairperson of the Nigeria Governors’ Wives Forum and First Lady of Ekiti State, Erelu Olabisi Fayemi, among others.

Also present were the Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Marcus Onobun; Chairman, Edo Sports Commission, Yusuf Ali and wife of Edo State Deputy Governor, Maryann Shaibu, among others.

Also speaking at the event, Sports Minister, Dare praised the organisers for the well-organised preseason tournament, saying, “We are here again to watch the second edition of the biggest pre-season tournament in Edo State.

“What we see here today is beautiful; a world-class tournament as can be seen in other developed nations of the world. What we see here today is history and the power of women in sports is on display.

“I thank all the First Ladies here present at this football event this evening to support this vision of our First Lady, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki. I appeal to them to go back home and replicate this in their various states. It can be in football or any other sports.”

He noted that women won 95 per cent of Nigeria’s medals at the just-concluded Commonwealth Games, saying, “women are making us proud.”

In her speech, Erelu Fayemi noted, “I am here with a powerful delegation of governors’ wives from Sokoto, Enugu, Delta, Abia, Ogun, Oyo, Taraba and Bayelsa states.

“I bring you warm greetings from Ekiti State. We are here to support our sister Betsy Obaseki and are proud of her achievements. Sports is important for developing our self-esteem and discipline for our women. This year’s message is ‘say no to drugs’. As First Ladies, we have several issues in our minds, which includes sexual-based violence and drug abuse, amongst others. We are here to support this effort and say no to drugs as drugs can destroy a whole generation.”

Earlier in the third place match, Delta Queens defeated Nasarawa Amazons 4-2 in a penalty shootout after both teams failed to find the back of the net after 90 minutes of epic battle and 30 minutes extra-time.

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