This Initiative is Using Sporting Activities to Promote Peace, Settle Dispute Among Youths

By Dauda Musbau

In the build-up to the 2019 Kwara State gubernatorial election, Yusuf Mutiu and Abdullateef Togun became antagonists who always looked out for each other’s flaws. This was largely because of their political affiliations. While Mutiu is an ardent supporter of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Togun’s staunch love for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) remains unswerving.

In defending each other’s principals (political leaders) each of them would go at any length to do that and also engage in online fights. 

“We didn’t have a cordial relationship. Our relationship was always that of cat and mouse,” Mutiu told WikkiTimes.

Kwara state gubernatorial election has always been tough. Tougher was the 2019 general election in the state.  

Togun also believed that the core reasons for enmity among Kwara youths were based on political affiliation and the political leaders they all follow.

Restoring the Peace through Sport

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Against this backdrop, Yusuf thought of how he could bring people back together, especially the youths, and maintain the peace and harmony that the state was known for. He had his thoughts around many things before he resolved to sporting activities, “sport is a unifier, no matter the religion you practice or the language you speak,” He concluded his thought.

So last year, when Yusuf shared this idea with his friends, they all took it personally and became the major drivers of the initiative. They bear the idea with the aim that Yusuf can successfully organize it because of his antecedence in sporting activities.

Driven by a passion for providing solutions to the political feud among Kwara Youths and the support generated by his friends who became the team for the initiative, Yusuf launched PLAY WITH KWARA YOUTHS (PWKY) and held the first edition of the event on April 23, 2023.

While speaking about what prompted him to start the initiative, he said, “The motive is to bridge the gap which politics has caused amongst the Youths of Kwara.”

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So in making sure that the third edition is grander than the previous ones, Yusuf converged the teams and went to seek the Emir of Ilorin, His Royal Highness Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari’s blessings.

The PLAY WITH KWARA YOUTHS (PWKY) is Using Sporting Activities to Promote Peace, Settle Dispute Among Youths

Play With Kwara Youths at Emir of Ilorin’s Palace

Serving its cause…

Since its inception, the initiative has been receiving a huge turnout of participants and each edition recorded more than 100 participants across all sports – ranging from Football, Table Tennis, Ludo, etc. So far, the initiative has impacted 10 people by helping them resolve the dispute and stabilize their relationships.

“A perfect instance is that of SSA Communication to the Governor of Kwara state, Mallam Ibrahim Abdullateef Egghead, and PDP apologist, Miss. Saadat Bibire. PWKY was the avenue that settled the scores between them,” Yusuf said. 

Also, it was Play With Kwara Youth that helped Abdullateef Togun and Yusuf Mutiu settle their differences. 

“Sometimes distance conversation basically on social media is crucial to many rifts among the youth but Play With Kwara Youths bring everybody close to each other and settle scores. I must say it helped me settle with Mutiu,” Togun reacted.

Challenges

The inability to accommodate many sports lovers even though a lot of people always show interest,  is one of the challenges that Yusuf said is currently facing the initiative.

“One of the challenges we are facing is that some people still feel we are not carrying them along not knowing that there’s a limit to the number of people we can accommodate,” Yusuf told WikkiTimes.

Yusuf also fears that some people’s blind opinion about politicians hijacking the initiative might be scaring other good-hearted people into joining the movement of maintaining peace in the state.

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