Sports are physical activities done by human beings for pleasure and for the enhancement of their good health.
The beginning of human beings’ participation in sporting activities dates to thousands of years ago. So today, we have different types of sports games, viz football, handball, basketball, netball, volleyball, wrestling, athletics, boxing, taekwondo, lawn tennis, table tennis, golf, and others. And new sporting games are being added to the list.
But we do not participate in sports, whether team sports or individual sports games, for the sake of participating in them. Sporting games are tools for deepening social harmony in a society, strengthening bonds of friendships among people from diverse socio-cultural backgrounds, and improving our health conditions. And many professional sports personalities like footballers, swimmers, boxers, basketball players, athletes, and others have achieved stardom and accumulated immense financial fortunes by embracing sports.
So the imperative of reviving sports in Obosi, an ancient and important town that borders Onitsha, cannot be disputed. Obosi, which is in Idemili North LGA of Anambra State, is fast becoming an urban conurbation owing to its proximity to Onitsha. Onitsha is the commercial hub of the southeast geopolitical zone.
So as Obosi is fast transforming to an urban centre, it has become a melting pot of all manner of people who come from diverse socio-cultural backgrounds. And, we are not unconscious of the fact that high incidence of crimes is recorded in most urban towns. So that is one of the reasons why Obosi was, in the recent past, ravaged by such sundry crimes as armed robbery, kidnapping, pickpocketing, burglary, and others.
But, thankfully, now, the high crime rate in Obosi has abated, significantly. The reduction in the crime rate in Obosi has come about owing to the rapprochement brokered between the traditional ruler of Obosi, Igwe Chidubem Iweka and his detractors. They had sunk their differences and presented a common front in tackling the menace of crimes in both Obosi inland and urban town(s).
And knowing that sports is a unifying tool and anti-dote for the prevalence of crimes in our society, the newly elected Obosi Development Union(ODU) President General, Barrister Chimezie Obi, set up a Sports Committee to oversee the development and promotion of sports in Obosi. Members of the ODU Sports Committee are former sports men and women and sports aficionados, who had proved their mettle in the areas of sports and sports administration in the past. As soon as they were inaugurated into office, they visited the Obosi township stadium to assess the level of its degradation. And they have mapped out policies aimed at rekindling the Obosi youths’ interest in sports and reviving the hosting of sports competitions in Obosi.
In the past, Obosi town had owned football teams, namely Obosi United and Net-Breakers from which national club sides in the old Anambra State like Vasca Dagama and Rangers International Football Club poached players. At that time, the Obosi-based teams played good football and were the unifying factor in Obosi.
Again, the legendary Ogidi Ibeabuchi, who probably cut his football teeth in Obosi, hailed from Obosi. Ogidi Ibeabuchi, who died prematurely in a car accident alongside Mr. Victor Eneli (Son of Chief Clifford Eneli), was one of the Rangers International Football Club of Enugu star players. He gained national renown while donning the jerseys of the flying Antelopes of Enugu, then.
More so, not only has Obosi produced star footballers, it has also produced a great sports administrator, who turned around the sports fortunes of the old Anambra State. Chief Clifford Eneli, who was the Director of Sports in the old Anambra State, formulated and implemented sports policies in the old Anambra State. So not surprisingly, Mary Onyali-Omagbemi and her ilk, who represented Anambra State at national sports competitions before attaining global fame, were discovered during school sports in Anambra State.
At that time, youths in Obosi would take to sports rather than living lives of crime. So, there was the Obosi- born Sydney Ikebuaka who surmounted the hurdle of broken and impecunious home to become a national weight-lifting champion. He achieved national stardom and represented Nigeria at 1980 summer Olympics. Ikebuaka died tragically in Bulgaria, leaving his mother heart-broken and inconsolable.
So not being unaware of the roles, which sports play(s) in the development of our society, Barrister Chimezie Obi, the ODU President General, is using the instrumentality of sports to tackle our niggling societal problems. And he is re-awakening our consciousness of the fact that we can achieve social harmony through sports; and that our young people can make careers out of sports.
As to this, Barrister Chimezie Obi-led a contingent of Obosi footballers to the kick-off of the Soludo Community Shield Competition, which is taking place in Anambra State. And during the kick-off ceremonies of the competition, he led other Town Unions’ President Generals in the march past.
Obosi town’s participation in the Soludo Community Shield competition is a far departure from what obtained under the leaderships of past President Generals of the Obosi Development Union(ODU). Then, the name, Obosi, was never mentioned during sporting competitions in Anambra State.
But Chimezie Obi is fully aware that sports can be used to enthrone peace and unity in a town, achieve social harmony in our society, and tackle, holistically, the menace of crimes ravaging our country. That is why the ODU President General, Chimezie Obi, who was a school boy sports star, is working tirelessly to revive the culture of staging sports competitions in Obosi. And he is redirecting the young people to the path of sports.
Chiedu Uche Okoye,