Since the discovery of oil in Umukpo, Uworie Agwa Autonomous Community, Oguta LGA, Imo State in 2007, which led to the destruction of lives and property worth millions of naira, by two rival cult groups in the area. The community is yet to recover fully from the wreckage, despite returning back to their respective homes after 3 years on exile. However, their return was made possible by the government Chief Rochas Anayo Okorocha, shortly after his emergency as the executive governor of Imo State.
There is no doubt that the people of Umukpo may have lost the opportunity of celebrating or enjoying some of her cultural heritage or to participate in other unifying social activities that the community is known for, particularly during festive seasons, which football is among.
However, in a bid to restore hope, peace, unity and development in the community, a leader in one of the rival groups, who over the years, had been granted amnesty by the administration of Chief Rochas Okorocha, Comrade Chidiebere Mbachu (a.k.a General), deemed it necessary to donate the Unity Cup.
The tournament, indeed, kick started on the 28th of December, 2018 at Holy Ghost Primary School field, Umukpo, between Umuiheoma Village and Umunkaranaoriri at 4:00pm and ended 1:0 in favour of Umuiheoma.
The next soccer battle of 29th December saw the emergence of Amini Village, the home town of the trophy donor, with a 2:0 win against Umudiji, while Amaudara beat the newly carved out Umundurunaegbe Village from Umunkaranaoriri 1:0 on the 30th of December.
In the same vein, the match between Amini and Amaudara ended 1:0 in favour of Amini on the 1st of January, 2019 while the final match of the tournament between Umuiheoma who were on standby and Amini ended on a 2:0 win against Amini on the 4th of January, 2019.
In his address, shortly after the final match, Comrade Chidiebere Mbachu (a.k.a General), thanked the Organizing Committee and all the villages that registered and participated in the game. He expressed his heartfelt gratitude and pointed out that those who believed that the tournament would end up in crisis were proved wrong.
The Oguta LGA youth mobilizer affirmed that the violent free nature of the tournament was an indication that peace, stability and development have returned to the community. He was optimistic that this year’s tournament would be packaged like never before, as other villages that could not participate in the game for one reason or the other, will participate come December, 2019.
Speaking also, HRH Eze Dr. Albanus Ozuruoha, Ugochinyere 1 and paramount ruler of Uworie Agwa Autonomous Community, Oguta LGA, Imo State, lauded the trophy donor, Comrade Chidiebere Mbachu (General), for his magnanimity, describing such gesture as one of the criteria for honouring or giving an award to someone.
The Monarch further commended all the players for their peaceful disposition before, during and after the tournament and charged the Organizing Committee of the tournament to raise a team from those that participated in the game that will be representing the community in future matches.
By Blaise Elumezie