Okpekpe race: Community calls for correction of name or else…
Abavo Kingsley, Benin
An aggrieved Apana community, Estako – West local government council area, Edo State has called on relevant authorities to quickly correct what it terms ‘erroneous tagging’ of the now globally recognized ‘Okpekpe International Road Race.’
The Community threatens that the 7th edition of the much publicized event slated for May 25, 2019 may not hold if their agitation is not quickly addressed.
The people demand that their community name should reflect on the Race name, as the Take-off point of the event form major part of their land hence the need to name it, ‘Apana/Okpekpe Road Race’ and not ‘Okpekpe Road Race’, as it is currently.
The Okpekpe Road Race is an annual event that gathers world-class athletes from around the world for a 10-kilometre distance.
It is an IAAF Silver Labeled Road Race run over hills and tarred roads in the Northern part of the State, with the sum of N45m as total prize money for this year’s event.
In a petition to the State Government, signed by Notary Public, Apeiye Becon Clement ESQ on behalf of the community, the people say the correction is necessary, to avert future dispute between Apana and Okpekpe Communities.
An excerpt of the petition reads, “Wishing to further place on record is the fact that Apana Uzairue is the closest community on the ground that we share boundary with Okpekpe Clan and this boundary determine the boundary between Uzairue Clan and Okpekpe Clan and Etsako West local government and Etsako East Local Government.
“Flowing from above stated fact, Okpekpe Clan is claiming that the take-off of the race is now the boundary between Apana-Uzairue and Okpekpe Clan, and this is not true as the take-off of the race form part of Apana-Uzairue, Etsako West Local Government Area hence we are calling on your intervention to avoid a breach of peace”.
The Human Rights Lawyer urged the State government to include in the Sporting event the area’s rich cultural heritage to further sell Edo to the world.
Also, an indigene in the community, Elder Thomas Ipogah stated that after series of reminder on the petition to concerned authorities with no response, the community may resort to disrupt the Race take-off.