Home Politics Unveiling Hon. Dr Suleiman Yahaya Kwande’s ‘Football For Peace And Empowerment Mantra’...

Unveiling Hon. Dr Suleiman Yahaya Kwande’s ‘Football For Peace And Empowerment Mantra’ As A Peacebuilding Tool To Unify A Deeply Fractured State Like Plateau.

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The compelling ability of sports to foster unity, peace and progress is indisputable. Sitting at the connexon of sports and peacebuilding, Hon Dr Suleiman Yahaya Kwande, Chairman Plateau State Football Association, PFA crusade is indelibly etching a lasting legacy in Plateau State and beyond. Leveraging on the charm and unifying power of football, he has been championing the cause of social reconciliation in a state marred by ethnic and religious conflicts.

An excellent exemplar of this transformative prowess is encapsulated within the philosophy of Hon Dr Suleiman Yahaya Kwande and his ‘Football for Peace and Empowerment’ mantra on the Plateau. Football, the universal language that instils camaraderie, unity, and a sense of shared purpose, has been efficiently harnessed by Hon. Dr Suleiman Yahaya Kwande, a former National Assembly member and a record longest serving board member of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF.

Dominant to the philosophy of Dr Kwande is that football possesses the power to unite communities, create a common ground, and assist in forging sturdier social ties. Kwande’s ingenuity nurtures this sense of unity targeted at ending the sectarian divides on the Plateau. His approach is an outstanding testament to the football’s role in fostering peace, spurring individuals to look beyond their disparities and coalesce around a friendship driven by football.

By supporting Local Government Amatuer Football Associations such as Langtang North Amatuer Football Association, LAFA and others with both his physical presence and financial support, he has successfully redirected the energies of grassroots players and coaches into a more productive and pacifying avenue, while knitting together the army of spectators who throng the match venues.

Transcending beyond Local Government boundaries, Hon Kwande ensured that between October 19, 2023 he was sworn-in to November 2023, the Plateau State Governor’s Cup 2023 kicked off in the most professional organized manner, many thanks to Hon Ezra Simon Godit, Chairman of Organizing Standing Committee of the PFA, Kwande’s trusted confidant who is also the current 1st Vice Chairman of the Association. The sacrifices and supports of the Board, Congress and Secretariat Staff cannot go unnoticed.

Waiting in the winds, ready for safe landing and commencement are the Gbong Gwom Jos and ALGON Peace and Unity Football Competitions introduced by Hon Kwande. Intimately connected to culture and football as interwoven platforms for sustaining peace, the aforementioned two pPeace Tournaments are initiative planned at promoting unity among various ethnic and socio-religious groups in Plateau State

Incorporated in Dr Kwande’s approach is his firm commitment to gender equality in sports and restoration of parity – prominent in his historic All Women Tournament organized to celebrate the International Women’s Day. It is worthy of note that in the whole Federation, only Kwande’s led board thought it wise to use football to celebrate women.

This innovative merriment exemplifies the PSFA’s determination to promoting gender parity within sports. The association’s concerted effort in highlighting women’s football on International Women’s Day showcases female athletes’ abilities, thereby stimulating out-dated gender paradigms that have often downgraded women in sports.

In relentless pursue of his ideology that “No Women, No Nation”, the Women FA Cup Competition that has gone comatose for more than two decades was revived. This re-echoes his determination for the “Girl Child Football”. With his matching orders to all Local Governments FAs that they must produce a female team, this is fast gaining traction and is pioneering a change in local attitudes towards girl participation in football. Such a progressive initiative is not only propelling a paradigm shift but is also contributing to gender parity and female empowerment.

The efforts of Hon Dr Suleiman Yahaya Kwande have not only effectively utilized the unifying power of football to foster peace amongst a diverse populace, but have also leveraged its potentials to empower individuals economically. His endeavours underscore the potential of grassroots sports in fostering social reconciliation in conflicted societies.

With the financial support of the government, private sector and spirited individuals, it is not the question of wether football is capable of ensuring total return of peace and unity on the Plateau, rather it is the question of how soon that will be achieved because Hon Kwande is a round hole in a round peg strategically seated at the helms of football affairs on the Plateau Miri Timnan Nyantau (M.T.N), Majidadin Gazum is the Chairman, Langtang North Amatuer Football Association (LAFA) and Secretary, Forum of Local Government FA Chairmen

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