Usiak-Ifia, a village in Upenekang, Ibeno Local Government of Akwa Ibom State, on Sunday emerged winners of the maiden edition of Upenekang Unity Soccer Tournament beating Inyangitor/Okpudu by five goals to four in a penalty shootout in the final match played at the foremost Q.I.C Central School Pitch after a barren draw at regulation time.
The Tournament was sponsored by the Councillor representing Upenekang Ward-1 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon. Samuel Ulaeto, for peace and unity among the villages in the area and to mobilize support and votes for Governor Udom Emmanuel in the forthcoming general elections.
Hon. Ulaeto, who told Ibom Telegraph after the final whistle that he was excited about the tournament, said the event was a huge success and a testimony to the fact that hard work pays.
In his words, Hon. Ulaeto said “I am very happy that the tournament turned out to be a huge success. This tournament is about the youths of Ibeno Local Government Area. It is about all of us. There is something in sports that helps to promote unity, peace and brotherliness. I am extremely excited that this tournament has achieved what it was intended to.”
The Councillor further said he was happy to have created a platform that brought the people of Upenekang vis-à-vis Ibeno Local Government Area together to share moments of excitement together in the spirit of sports to promote peaceful coexistence.
Speaking, the political leader of Ibeno and immediate past Leader of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Okpolupm Etteh, who performed the kickoff, commended the organizer, adding that he has promoted peace and unity through the tournament.
Rt. Hon. Etteh, represented by his younger brother, Hon. Ekoakwaha Etteh, also commended the players for their good performances and appealed to the organizer to make the tournament a routine.
Also speaking, the member representing Esit Eket/Ibeno State Constituency in the State House of Assembly, Dr Usoro Akpanusoh, said the tournament was apt considering “the time that a major decision is about to be taken in Nigeria.”
Others, who spoke, including Samuel Ekpenyong, a stakeholder of the PDP in the area, said the tournament should serve as a rallying point for peace and unity in Ibeno.
Out of the six teams that participated in the tournament, Odorokuku emerged Best Behaved team; Ncho Etebong (Most Valuable Player); Emmanuel Bado (Best Goalkeeper), and James Bassey (Highest Goal-scorer).
At the event, merit awards were presented to respectable sons and daughters of the area including Special Assistant to the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Mrs. Uduak Utip Ekong, Elder Utip Ekong and Hon. Enyina Hekins.
Those that also graced the event included Deputy Chief Whip of Ibeno Legislative Council, Hon. Ikpe Ebrewong; former Trasition Chairman of Ibeno, High Chief William Mkpah; Ibeno PDP Chapter Chairman, Mr. Emmah Ibok; former Esit Eket PDP Chapter Chairman, Hon. Enobong Asubob; Evang. Sam David; Elder Akpaneka Ukot; Deacon Emmanuel Nnitor; Enyina Ukana; Sam Effiong; former State Officer of the PDP, Friday Ikpo; Lawrence Akpan; Obongmkparawa Samuel Akpan; Elder Ikoidem Ekong, and Chief Robert Mfon