By Andrew Essien, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Unity Championship ended with Taraba State humbling their Gombe State counterpart on penalty to win the coveted cup which marked the maiden edition in Abuja.
The encounter which ended in a barren draw at the regulation time of 90 minutes, saw the Taraba side subduing the dogged Gombe side on a 5-3 penalty shootout that kept the spectators, the Minister of the FCT, Mohammed Musa Bello, his Women Affairs counterpart, Aisha Alhassan (Mama Taraba) and the members of the APC National Working Committee (NWC) on the edge of their seats.
Speaking after the ceremony to mark the end of the weeklong football fiesta, APC National Youth Leader, Ibrahim Dasuki Jalo told newsmen that the essence of the tournament was to create unity, activities for the Nigerian youths and to leave a legacy.
“It is an APC tournament and event, organised by the youth wing of the party. We came with this idea and innovation in order to create unity, activities for our young men and to have a legacy whereby we would have established something after our exit and something that would be seen, enjoyed, use for their own development and progress in life.”
He equally reacted to a PDP state playing in the final and winning the tournament, stressing: “Actually, it was their own determination to join the states that the APC is ruling. There is difference between sports and politics. The boys are very determined with the feeling to do their best to showcase themselves among states that have APC membership.
“We are thinking that it will also go a long way to telling people that APC is coming to stay in those states and also they are determined to be part and parcel of whatever is happening particularly at the national level,” he said.
Advising Nigerian youths, he said: “I call on them to embrace peace, unity, progress and whatever that will promote them in any sense whether economic, political, social and so on. Let them focus attention and do it. That is the only way they can secure and guarantee their future.”
The APC Youth Leader however assured that measures are already in place to make it an yearly event, revealing: “We will do our best, some of us that are here will encourage whoever that is coming after us to continue with this legacy.
“It is something that is happening for the first time in the history of political parties in Nigeria and I believe other parties will emulate what we have done and we keep praying and hoping that this kind of event continues.
On the turn out during the closing ceremony, he said: “I am very impressed by the leadership of the party and our leaders. You can see the national chairman, our governors are here, the Minister of FCT and members of the Working Committee among others.”
Jalo also noted that the biggest take away of the tournament is “to achieve unity because young people came from different states to participate in the event. That is our target.”