In continuation of his two-day official visit, the Chairman of Benue State Football Association (BSFA), Barr. Paul Edeh, on Thursday led the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau, to the palace of the Paramount Ruler of Tiv Nation, Prof. James Ortese Ayatse, Tor Tiv.
While at the revered Tor Tiv palace, located at the ancient town Gboko, the NFF President hailed the veritable contributions of the popular traditional institution in advancing football development in the past and present.
Historically, Gboko was the home of the defunct BCC Lions with their home stadium being GS Tarka.
Alhaji Gusau while re-echoing the indelible impact of football in the society said his visit to the Royal Palace was due to the high regard his administration has for the Tor Tiv Kingdom.
He said, “We at the NFF respect the traditional ruler’s stool of Tiv nation so highly. We will always be glad to enlist the support of the paramount ruler in Nigeria’s football development.
“We want to also appeal to the paramount ruler to pray for Super Eagles to win 2023 AFCON. And If by the grace of God we win the trophy, we will bring it to the palace and celebrate with your Majesty.
“We at at NFF will support the Tor Tiv Cup and more grassroots football development to discover more raw talents fro, the state.”
Responding, the Tor Tiv assured that as a Sports lover, he will always pray and support the development of football in Benue State and the entire country.
“I commend the NFF President for choosing to visit Benue state first with the a special visit to my palace. My Kingdom is sports loving and I particularly is a sportsman having played while I was young in the school.
“Under your leadership, Nigeria football will grow and I pray that the Super Eagles will win AFCON under your reign.”
Earlier, BSFA Chairman, Barr. Edeh reckoned that the spirited Royal Blessings pour on his board few days after its inauguration in June 2023 have continued to power football to higher heights in the state.
“The NFF President’s visit is historic and It’s our desire to continuously have the Paramount Ruler’s support in the things we do to move football forward in the state always,” he said.
Benue state Commissioner of Youth, Sports and Creativity, Rt. Hon. Ikyange Terkimbi, thanked the NFF President and Tor Tiv for their respective roles in uplifting societal values which football represents while assuring that the state government will continue to invest in vintage development of youth.
The NFF President was later honoured by Tor Tiv by the paramount ruler with the symbolic full traditional Tiv attire and special recognition with bow (signifying victory on his leadership seat and the entire Nigerian football) as well as Cap and Cloth Apparel (showing Candour and Glory from the traditional palace).
The NFF and his entourage including the General-Secretary Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, board members – Rt. Hon. Margaret Icheen Mr Silas Agara, Alhaji Rabiu Inuwa Ahlan among others were earlier received by the Benue State Deputy Governor Dr. Sam Ode.
The Executive Governor of the state, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, will on Friday play host to the NFF President.