Debo Adeoye, Ibadan
Oyo State, popularly known and referred to as “home of all firsts” in Nigeria reaffirmed its pacesetter’ status as it recorded another “first” on Tuesday when Oyo State Chapters of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council and a renowned sports outfit in the state, NITO Sports came together to unveil the maiden Oyo State Labour Unity Cup.
While addressing journalists at a Press Conference organised for the unveiling of the project at the NUJ Press Center, Iyaganku, Ibadan, the NLC Chairman, Comrade Bayo Titilola-Sodo described the project as unique and one that would foster unity among the workers in the state.
“We, the organizers of the maiden Oyo State Labour Unity Cup initiated the project to provide solution to the problems of disunity, terrorism and insecurity bedevilling our country.
“You will agree with us that religion, ethnicity and politics have failed Nigerians and if the situation continues, the country is in danger. Spurred by this development, we consider it necessary to research an acceptable and effective way of bringing our people together regardless of colour, race, religion and political affiliation to tackle the menace.
“We arrived at the conclusion that the number one world acceptable language and known unifying factor, the game of football should be considered,” Comrade Titilola Sodo stated
“The competition will be full of fun, entertainment and also promote good health among the participants,” NLC Chairman added.
Also the Secetary of Trade Union Congres (TUC) in Oyo State, Mr Mayowa Falagbe while speaking at the event said that the competition was initiated to profer solution to disunity and ensure no rancour exist among workers in the state. saying that sport remain the only major unifying factor in Nigeria.
“As stated earlier by Comrade Titilola-Sodo, politics, religions and ethnicity have all greatly polarised us and turned out nation to battle ground. Taking into consideration the disunity suffered in the past by the two, labour and trade congresses as a result of the failed system.
“We cannot but appreciate the current leadership of the two bodies in the state for putting heads together to institute a project like this to bring our members together in order to entertain and promote unity among themselves.”
“I also congratulate His Excellency for being governor at this very time when labour bodies and the affiliates under them are witnessing unprecedented unity. We shall allow the unity to translate into economic development in Oyo State,” Falagbe stated
In his speech, the State Council Chairman of the NUJ, Comrade Ademola Babalola gave the analysis on the benefit of this competition, which he said included bringing unity to the pacesetter state and also among the workers across the state.
“This is the first time workers and traders in the state from both formal and informal sectors of the economy will come together to organize a football competition to foster unity.
“You will also agree with me that Oyo State as the pacesetter state is home to every first in Nigeria, this is why this project is starting here. We have a vision of turning this competition to national competition after two or three years of test running it in Oyo State,” Babalola said.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of NITO Sports, Comrade Adebowale Adeoye who is also one of the organizers addressed the Journalists on the technical aspects of the competition.
“To give equal opportunity of participating in the competition to all members of both the NLC and TUC, each participating team is expected to have on the field of play six players between the age of 20 to 30years and five players between the age of 40 to 55years during the match.
“All the participating teams are expected to engage the services of a professional coach to avoid fielding unfit player. Professional coaches are available to assist interested teams train their players, no salary is involved, only allowances are applicable. For coaches services, interested teams should contact Chairman, technical committee or NLC or TUC Chairmen.
“Registration of teams for the competition will commence tomorrow, it will be on till Wednesday 25 March, 2020. Registration fee per team is Ten Thousand Naira (N10,000) only. Draws for the competition shall take place at Dapo Aderogba Hall, Press Center, Iyaganku, Ibadan on Friday 27 March, 2020.
“It is important to also note that medical examination of each team’s players will commence from Wednesday 25 to Monday 30 March, 2020 at the Clinic of NUJ, Press Center, Iyaganku, Ibadan. Only certified players shall qualify to participate in the competition.
“Caution cards are as follow, Red Card, Five Thousand Naira (N5,000) while Yellow card attracts One Thousand Naira (N1,000) only. Every caution card against any team must be settled within 24hrs after the match where the player is penalised.
“Each team must arrive venue of the match at least an hour before the match for the pre-match meeting. A team must come for pre-match meeting with 2 sets of jersey with different colour; 2 pairs of hoses with different colour, a pair of chin guard and a pair of boot per player. No player will be allowed to participate in the competition without a pair of boot and chin guard.
“Quarterfinal matches will be played same day on Saturday 25 April, 2020, while semifinals will be played on Tuesday 28 April, 2020. Third place match is slated for Thursday 30 April, and the final will take place at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan on Friday 1st of May, after all the activities listed by NLC and TUC for the celebration of 2020 International Workers’ Day by 4pm prompt. Presentation of Prizes and Awards will take place immediately after the final match,” Adeoye concluded