By G9ija

Youths of the crude oil and gas-rich Niger Delta region have been urged to direct their energies towards developing their innate abilities.

The admonition was made over the weekend by the Deputy Managing Director, Port Harcourt District of Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited (TEPNG), Mr. Francois Le-Cocq.

He made the admonition at the closing ceremony of the 16th edition of annual Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)/TEPNG Oil Mining Lease (OML) 58 football competition for the host communities in Rivers State, which took place at the sports field of Western Ahoada County High School, Ahoada, the headquarters of Ahoada East Local Government Area.

The deputy managing director, who was represented by Total’s Community Relations Manager Offshore/Port Harcourt Communities, Mr. Okechukwu Obara, stated that the oil giant was committed to empowering people of its host communities and also developing the areas.

Le-Cocq said: “Our continuous sponsorship of this competition, in spite of the obvious challenges in the industry, is a testament of our desire to maintain a robust relationship with communities that host our facilities in their domain.

“We shall continue to introduce new innovations, aimed at improving the overall content of the competition and to enhance its quality, by making it more fun and glamorous, in order to attract more players, who may use the platform to excel in their footballing careers locally, and at the national and international levels.

“I am assuring you of the continuous commitment of the management of TEPNG and our joint venture partner, the NNPC, to use the platform as an avenue to identify and harness the energy and skills of the youths in our communities towards productive and fulfilling endeavours.”

The deputy managing director also expressed profound gratitude to all the resource persons and partners who participated in organising the resoundingly successful event, as well as hailing the efforts of officials of Rivers State Football Association and the Rivers State Referees Council, among others.

While also speaking, the paramount ruler of Ahoada, HRM Eze Peter Ihua-Maduenyi, assured that people of the host communities would continue to give peace a chance, while lauding Total for the initiative and described the oil company as the best, with excellent community relations.

The final match between the teams from Elele-Alimini in Emohua LGA and Obite in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA (ONELGA) ended 3:1 in favour of Elele-Alimini, which won the competition for the first time, while the team from Erema, also in ONELGA, came third.

Besides the trophies and medals, team Elele-Alimini also got N500,000, team Obite got N400,000, while team Erema got N300,000.