Warri/Effurun Peace Marathon Race has come to stay – Mrs Bozimo
… As 3rd Edition holds March 3rd
By Francis Sadhere, Warri
The Warri/Effurun Peace Marathon Race which started three years ago to foster peace in Warri and environs has come to stay, says Alaere Barr. Joyce Broderick Bozimo, organizer of the race.
“The Warri/Effurun Peace Marathon Race has come to stay. It is a yearly event now. So all we are asking is that everybody should be involved. You are either running or cheering. If you must run you have to be sure that you are fit. You have to train. We also want to urge the Royal Fathers to encourage their people to come and be involved in the Marathon Race,” she said.
Alaere Joyce Bozimo who spoke in an interview in Warri said this year’s edition of the Warri/Effurun Peace Marathon Race is going to be different from previous ones as Senior Secondary School Students have been enlisted to participate in the Race.
She also added that popular musicians from Delta state who have been making waves in the music industry all over the world would be invited to spice the Marathon Race as they will perform live concert after the Race.
“This edition is going to be fantastic because we are going to have the Senior Secondary School Students participating in the Marathon as a result of popular demand. The youths said they want to be part of the Marathon. So for the first time, we are going to introduce Senior Secondary School Students into the Marathon Race. Also for the first time, we are going to have all the musicians from Warri and environs coming to be part of it. It is going to be like a Carnival. It is going to be a like a festival where all the musicians will be playing after the Marathon Race,” she disclosed.
Mrs Bozimo said the ten kilometers Race will attract various prizes from Fifty Thousand Naira to Three Hundred Thousand Naira, adding that both national and local athletes will be participating in the Race.
“The Warri /Effurun Peace Marathon Race is not something big. The Marathon, like I have said before, it is to promote peace in Warri , Effurun and all the neghbouring villages It has not yet become something big. The prizes are not something fantastic but the idea behind it is what really matters. The prizes range from Fifty Thousand Naira to Three Hundred Thousand Naira. If you are a national athlete and you come first, you will get Three Hundred Thousand Naira each for male and female. If you are a local athlete and you come first, you get One Hundred Thousand Naira each for male and female.
“This is the third edition and in this edition, we are inviting everyone from Warri and around Nigeria. We are going to invite athletes from the whole country. We are also inviting Students in Warri and Effurun to come and cheer or participate in the Marathon as we want to do everything together as a people.
“This year, we are planning to invite our big comedians and I think their presence will encourage a lot of young ones. We have invited a lot of people. We are inviting sports loving of Delta State in particular and the whole contry in general .
Mrs Bozimo who is a lawyer by profession added that the Warri /Effurun Peace Marathon has nothing to do with politics or tribe, adding that, “It is not PDP or APC that is organizing it. It has nothing to do with tribe. It has nothing to do with Itsekiri, Ijaw, Urhobo or Ibo. We want to work with everybody; we want to play and laugh with all the tribes in Warri and environs so that we can live peace and attract development.”
She appealed to all well meaning Deltans to support the Marathon Race billed for March 3, 2018,saying that funding has remained the biggest challenge since the Race began.
“Some athletes in Kenya have indicated their interest to come but because we do not have proper funding, we cannot take on foreign athletes at this time. Every little counts in organizing a Marathon because a lot of things are involved behind the scenes. If your are a manufacturer of water or sells energy drinks, glucose, snacks you can support us with whatever you have. Last year Spices and AJ , they supported us , we are grateful to them.
“For now we have not gotten to the place where we can get one big sponsor, but the Delta State government usually assist us with some funds but as you are well aware, organizing a Marathon Race a huge responsibility. I did not know about this until I started. Apart from the Delta State Government that assist us with some funds, we also get support from some of our friends, but the bulk of the funds come from within the family. When we started, the Olu of Warri and Papa Ayo Oritsejafor and some of our family friends gave us some assistance during the first edition. But this year, nobody has given us anything yet. We know that the Delta State government is going to give us something as usual.
“But we are appealing to corporate bodies and private individuals to come and assist us. Most importantly, we want people who went to school here like Urhobo College, Hussey College, Federal Government College, Our Ladys high school , Government College, Ughelli and who are doing well in their various professions and businesses to come and partner with us to give back . We have so many so many prominent people
who are products from various schools in Warri and Effurun who are doing very well, they should not turn their backs on Warri. Today when people come to Warri they are disappointed because what they see is a far cry from what they expect to see. In those days everybody was everybody’s keeper in Warri,” Mrs Bozimo stressed.
On peaceful coexistence between the various ethnic groups living in Warri and environs, Mrs Bozimo had this to say,” We have to define what peace is. If there are no disturbances or fighting amongst our youths, there is no militancy, kidnappings or robbries then we can say there is peace. What I will advice is that as parents, we need to be involved in the upbringing of our children. We should teach our children from tender age what the word of God is and when they know what the word of God is, they will be doers of the word.
“We should also have good teachers who are concerned about the welfare of the children. Today we have teachers who have turned the classroom to trading centres because they are poorly paid and most times salaries are not paid on time. If parents and teachers are involved in the training of children, then we are going to have good children. I was 18 years old when I came to Warri and all our neighbors then were different tribes. I could go to any house and eat and sleep without any problems at all, today the story is different.