Executive Committee members and the entire members of Ovoko Football Association, OFA, have expressed displeasure over attempts to politicize the 2020 edition of the Ovoko Annual Football League which grand finale kick-off, Chief Ike Ekwerwmadu, took.
In a statement jointly signed by the chairman, Nnaemeka Onaragu and Onyebuchi Ugwu, PRO, respectively, the leadership of Ovoko Football Association, OFA, frowned at what they described as fake news that Ekwerwmadu was whisked out of the venue.
Describing the news that was reported in one of the national dailies as false and a calculated attempt to discredit the colorful ceremony, the association noted that Ekwerwmadu, rather than attacked, was kingly received and honored for taking the kick-off to the grand finale.
They pointedly accused Hon. Pat Asadu, member representing Nsukka and Igbo-Eze South Federal Constituency of being the brain behind the false publication.
“We are also surprised at the sponsored fake news that former Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, was chased or whisked away from the grand finale of the 2020 edition of Ovoko football competition. The report was mischievous, unfounded, and sponsored by enemies of progress, who tried to scuttle the event and ab initio, but without success. The Senator performed the official kick-off amid fanfare before proceeding to the venue of reception where our people turned out en masse, both young and old, to honor and appreciate him.
“Peddlers of the fake news are yet to provide any pictorial or video evidence to support their falsehood, and we are disappointed. Even though the national daily has pulled down the offensive story, we are disappointed at their failure to investigate such a serious allegation before going to press with it,” the statement reads in part.
The statement continues, ” we are dismayed by the weighty allegation by Member representing Nsukka/Igbo-Eze South Federal Constituency, Hon. Pat Asadu, that OFA politicized the 2020 edition of the tournament by seeking and accepting sponsorship from Chief Ekweremadu, and by also inviting him to kick-off the grand finale.
“We are equally disappointed at Asadu’s allegation that we organized the grand finale despite a court injunction restraining us from doing so.
‘There is no truth to these. The fact remains that we first approached Hon. Asadu to sponsor the front of the jersey for N500,000, but he bluntly refused, insisting that we had gotten enough money. We, therefore, reached out to Chief Celestine Okanya, who paid for it, but preferred that the name of his friend, Chief Ekweremadu, be written at the front of the jersey because he planned to invite him as the Chief Guest of honor to the kick-off of the grand finale.
“Likewise, former Chairman of Igbo-Eze South LGA, Hon. Festus Ozioko, sponsored the back of the jersey but preferred the Governor’s name to be written on it instead.
‘So, where is the politics in having the name of a well-known sports enthusiast and promoter on our jersey as preferred by the sponsor, Chief Okanya, when he (Asadu) was the first to be offered the opportunity but turned it down? As a matter of fact, Asadu is still owing us the sum of N200,000 he pledged when we conferred an award on him about six years ago.
“Furthermore, there is no court order directed at OFA to stop the tournament. We are a law-abiding organization. But assuming, without conceding, that there was such order, why not charge us with contempt of court rather than send thugs led by his Personal Assistant, Eze Chinedu aka Ojemba, to dismantle our goalposts? Why resort to thuggery and intimidation of the community in a failed bid to stop our event?” they queried.
Recall that Asadu was quoted as saying that he had no hand in Ekwerwmadu’s ordeal, pointing out that he was at liberty to come to Ovoko or elsewhere to kick off a football tournament.
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