Eulogies, Applause, Greet First Abakaliki Ladies Open Championship Success As Rain Oil Pledges More Sponsorship
It is axiomatically right to say that the just concluded First Abakaliki Ladies Open Golf Championship met the media media hype it received build up to the event that held between November 4-6, 2021 at the Abakaliki Golf Club in the Ebonyi State capital.
The Ladies Golf Association of Nigeria (LGAN) and Royal & Ancient (R&A) of St Andrews, Scotland sanctioned event, the first-ever in the club since 24 years and the entire State as well, was well attended with over 150 participants from across the length and breathe of the country,
On the roll call of players that participated in the Championship for honours are Amina Wilfred of IBB Golf Club, Abuja, a serial winner of LGAN Open Championships and of course, the first champion of the AGC Ladies Open Championship.
Others include Blessing Obaje of David Mark Golf Club, Otukpo, Benue State; Love Ndareke of Port Harcourt Golf Club; Chy Ogban of AGC; Kessy Agana Irayitan, the ex-Lady Captain of Abeokuta Golf Club among others – they were all winners.
Interestingly, the success of the event did not come by chance in spite of all odds, but through deliberate and meticulous planning of the AGC Ladies under the able leadership of the Lady Captain, Enene Fonne, a United Nations (UN) appointee.
Recalled that the Lady Captain revealed to SOKOnnect in an earlier interview that the preparations for the event was a long term planning.
“The preparations for this epoch making event didn’t start overnight; from when I took up the mantle of leadership I was already focused on what I was going to do for the Ladies Open Championship; this is because it was going to be the first and there was need for it to be worth memorable, so that the next Ladies Captain coming on board can build on it.
“To God be the glory; I got supports from both individuals and corporate organisations and most interestingly, the members of AGC where hugely behind me – thanks to my Captain, Engr.Tony Egwu; Professor Brown Ejikeme; among others; the Ladies and staff of the AGC; LGAN; the PGA of Nigeria; Nigeria Golf Federation (NGF); the press – I love you all!” the Lady Captain enthused.
Indeed, the Club Captain,Engr. Egwu preparatory to the event maintained that the Club was behind the Lady Captain for the success of the first-ever Ladies Open Championship of the Club, just as virtually every AGC member interviewed at the event had positive story to tell about the Lady Captain, Fonne.
it was on this note, that the former Captain of the Club, Prof Ejikeme described the Lady Captain saying, “The Lady Captain is a go-getter, hardworking and intelligent person; it’s the reason everyone was behind her for the Open to be a successful one and it worked,” while pleading she agrees to extend her stay in the clubs management team.
LGAN President represented by Joyce Nule of Port Harcourt Golf Club, also did not mince words to give the lady Captain a pass mark on the success of the event, just as she advised on the need for the next Lady Captain to build on the legacy of the present Captain, Fonne.
Invariably, the joy of the Lady Captain could also be felt from the faculty of sponsors that were on ground as the Rain Oil which was the major sponsor of the event; Sigma Pensions; Nigerian Breweries and a host of others.
For Rain Oil, it was a blanket cheque giving out to support golf development as its representatives who spoke with SOKOnnect affirmed that it would continue to sponsor ladies golf events, particularly in Ebonyi State to help develop the game among the women folks in the state.
“Rain Oil is happy sponsoring the first Abakaliki Ladies Open Championship, because it’s part of our social responsibilities to give back to the society; Anytime the AGC Ladies call upon us, we will be willing to sponsor.”
It was in same vein that the wife of the Ebonyi State governor’s wife, Chief (Mrs) Rachel Umahi, the Grand Patron of the AGC Ladies has pledged to always support the ladies to grow the game bigger and better in the state.
All said and weighed, the ball is now in the court of the AGC Ladies on how far they can go in leveraging on the opportunities now before then in the development of women golf, just as Enene Fonne has set the pace on an interesting pedestal; who can make a difference?!