Okpekpe road race: N45m on cliff hanger over protest by host Community

The N45 million total stake money for the 7th edition of Okpekpe International road race billed for Saturday May 25, 2019, has been put on cliff hanger. This followed plans by the people of Apana Community in Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State to stop the race. In a petition to the State Government,


The N45 million total stake money for the 7th edition of Okpekpe International road race billed for Saturday May 25, 2019, has been put on cliff hanger.

This followed plans by the people of Apana Community in Etsako West Local Government
Area of Edo State to stop the race.

In a petition to the State Government, signed by Notary Public, Apeiye Becon Clement ESQ on behalf of the Community, cited “erroneous tagging” of the event as their reason for the protest.

The people of Apana Community which is the starting point for the race are protesting the alleged exclusion in the programme.

Recall that Okpekpe road race was introduced by a former Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole who thereafter passed it unto his successor, Godwin Obaseki.

The annual competition has become a unifier of global personalities and world-class athletes some of who had competed for honours.

In addition, Okpekpe road race had been certified as Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Silver labeled road race run over hills and tarred roads in the Northern part of the State.

According to the petitioner, “Apana Community should reflect on the race name, stated that, the Take-off point of the event form major part of their land hence the need to name.

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“It, ‘Apana/Okpekpe Road Race’ and not ‘Okpekpe Road Race’, as it is currently being used.

Our Correspondent reports that Okpekpe road race is an annual event that gathers world-class athletes from around the world for a 10-kilometre distance.

Besides, 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.

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 as such is calling on your intervention to avoid a breach of peace”.

The Human Rights Lawyer, urged Edo State Government to embed the rich cultural heritage of the host Communities in the Sporting event the areas for the world to see.

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An indigene in the Community, Elder Thomas Ipogah however 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.

Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki presenting a trophy to a prize winner at Okpekpe road race
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