The Paramount Ruler of Idoma land, His Royal Majesty, Dr. John Odogbo Elaigwu, has now become the Patron of Benue State Football Association (BSFA).
The latest development which was made known when the new board of BSFA led by Barr. Paul Edeh visited the traditional ruler known as Och’ Idoma, happened few days after the Paramount Ruler of Tiv Nation, His Royal Majesty, Prof. James Ayatse, emerged as football Grand Patron in Benue state.
Barr. Edeh who hailed the indelible impact of Och’ Idoma in ensuring peace and unity of his domain, urged the Monarch to give approval for annual hosting of Och’ Idoma Cup.
While recalling the dearth of football activities in the state, particularly in Otukpo, Barr. Edeh appealed to Och’ Idoma to use his revered position to urge the state government in collaboration with the 23 Local Government Areas to put the interest of football development at heart by making available land for stadiums as well as put it in place.
He said, “No doubt, Otukpo does not have a single stadium where your children can train or play any match. The only one (township stadium) we managed to have back in the decades, is no longer available after it was taken over by a federal government agency.
“Now in Otukpo, people play their matches on few primary and secondary school pitches. We then appeal to your royal majesty to prevail on the LGA chairmen in Zone C and the Governor to make available a land for stadium each and establish them because football is a unifying factor for peaceful coexistence.
“When we came on board, we took an initiative to institute an annual Och’ Idoma Cup, just as we had pleaded with his royal majesty Tor Tiv as a way to spread the message of peace and unity.”
On his part, the Och’ Idoma hailed the calibre of personalities in the FA and enjoined the board to remain focused.
The Traditional Ruler said he will accept to be a Patron of the FA while Tor Tiv is the Grand Patron, adding, “Respect must be given to the Tor Tiv in his status as the chairman of Benue state traditional rulers council. We are one… As Tor Tiv leads the traditional council in the state, he has our full support.”
The Och’ Idoma however, decried the attitude of some well-to-do individuals within Idoma, but singled out Barr Edeh for high commendations due to his philanthropic gestures which led to installation of power substation transformers in parts of Otukpo as well as other developmental moves.
Highpoint of the visit was the presentation of special packages including footballs, sports track suits, jerseys and a plaque to the traditional ruler.