Azibaola Robert, an environmentalist introduces new insights into awareness and promotion of climate issues in Bayelsa through innovative application of the Tug-of-War Sports competition.


When Azibaola Robert, an environmental activist casually told journalists that he wants to change the face of sports in Bayelsa state, many actually did not know what he meant then, not until he gathered thousands of spectators at Kolo community in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa state to watch, for the first time, the: “Tug of War” game tournament.

Azibaola, who is also the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of Abuja based Zeetin Engineering Nigeria limited, used the game Tug of War, a familiar but known in little dimension by most local folks, to also campaign on the nagging issue of climate change.

The event took place during the last yuletide, in conjunction with the Bayelsa state ministry of sports officials. Robert organized the tournament in accordance with international standards. For the first time in the state, the international picture of the Tug of War game drew spectators from most communities in the Ogbia area of Bayelsa state and beyond.

Roberts explained that the major purpose of introducing the game to the area and Bayelsa state in general, was to create an atmosphere conducive to talk about the issue of climate change for people at the grassroots, and to enable them get more insight about it.

He explained also that the ‘Tug of War’ game   was a practical way to promote climate change, pointing out that the way the two groups in the tournament pulled each other to win the game, is the manner nature and human beings pull each other.

His words: ” the average local does not understand what is climate change. So you must use practical example to tell them this is what it means by climate change. Nature is pulling and human beings are also pulling. So if we allow human beings to pull all through, nature will die, and when nature dies, all of us will die’’.

Explaining further, Robert who is also the Chief Executive officer, Azibaola Robert Foundation said he uses the little games to put into practice what climate change is all about. He stated that most rural dwellers don’t know much about climate change and how it affects them in the long run.

‘’Campaigns for climate change is important because people have to be conscious. Most of the people who went to Dubai for climate change conference probably   don’t know why they went there as it does not trickle down to the local communities when they came back. Climate change must have grassroots support. And from the grassroots you build it up to the national level’’, he said.

He also explained the importance of the” Tug of War” game   tournament which he organized and pulled large number of spectators. He emphasized that the game was another practical way of sensitizing the climate change campaigns in his own style.

“I want to use little games to practicalize climate change. This game is used to gather the people and talk to them about climate change” added   Robert who however noted that it is a new game especially in Bayelsa state but urged youths in the state to prepare for it as it would eventually become a state and national game where people would earn a living from it.

“It is completely a new game. And I am thinking   that in future, in five years’ time people must plan for the long run, it will become a national event and the national event can be domiciled in Bayelsa state”

“If we are able to bring all the youths of Nigeria to Bayelsa state for this kind of competition, you will see the multiplier effect, the ripple effect, people will stay in all hotels, fed by  all kinds  of foods  , so the economy of the state will grow “.

Robert disclosed that governor Douye Diri was excited when he hinted him about the game he was about introducing to the state.

” I spoke to the governor about the game and he was happy with what I’m trying to do. And if I can partner with the state in this kind of thing, may be the climate change movement in Nigeria will also be domiciled in Bayelsa state.

He however disclosed that  even though the  competition has been taken out of the Olympics but that it has not been taken out of sports. He pointed out that the competition is an intense sport, especially in places like Canada, and other European Countries.

Robert also harped on the prospects of the new game in Bayelsa state, saying, “I want you to have a dream , to be able to become a center of focus  in Nigeria and get people from abroad , out of  the country , hefty men who will come and do Tug of War with Kolo, Otuegu,Imiringi and other  communities in the state. “When you get that connection between people of Africa and people of International community it will no longer be about immigration or refugees, it is about healthy competition. Healthy competition is what the world is talking about, it is climate change, and yes, we can do it as a sport that can be more interesting than the Olympics.

He also disclosed his intention to introduce the Archley sport which will enable youths learn the act of precision shooting and also keep their minds out of immaterial things.

“Yes, another sport I want to introduce is Archrey. It is a sport based on pin pointing bow and arrow, to keep off the youths out of  holding guns , and to rather look into precision shooting, as a game which can, overtime, qualify them  to go into international Olympics,” said Robert.

“If I say, every community bring three person each , if I do it within Christmas period like this , the ground will be full , and then we will know who is a precision shooter’’, he said.

Robert is also into expedition. And he wants to introduce it to many in the state . “I’m going to plan for next year. You know I also do expedition. So I’m planning the next game and also planning another expedition. But I don’t want Bayelsa to dominate my activities. So probably the next expedition will be in Rivers state and I have had several offers from various tribes and places, he said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here