The Principal, King’s College Lagos, Mr Andrew Ali Agada, has appealed to the Federal Ministry of Education to find ways of synergizing with its Sports counterpart in harnessing and developing talents discovered at the end of every sporting competition of the various schools.
The principal was speaking in an interview on the sidelines of the 103rd Inter-house Sports Competition of the college on Saturday in Lagos.
According to him, the discovery and development of fresh talents in sports is a sure way of ensuring that the country is positioned on a higher pedestal in various games on the global stage.
“Today, we are celebrating our 103rd annual inter-house sports competition. This year’s own is special because we are also honouring one of our distinguished old boys, Alhaji Femi Okunu, (SAN) who will clock 90 years on Sunday, Feb. 19.
“Let me just seize this opportunity to appeal to our ministry (Federal Ministry of Education) to identify talents discovered at the end of every inter-house sport of each of the schools and synergize with the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, so as to harness and train and develop them.
“Not everybody will go to university, not everyone will earn a living from being a doctor, an engineer or any other career, but from sports, they can make it. We have seen people reach their peak through sports, like the person we are celebrating today, Alhaji Okunu. He is an international sportsman. He played cricket for Nigeria and he was also a sprinter,” he said.
Agada noted that aside from financial gains, sports also promote teamwork, because when the students work together, they synergize and move forward, just like it assists them in time management, as most of the events are timed and therefore, ensures that they are able to work with time.
The PKC 25 explained that sports had always played a critical role in academics, adding that it also helped in making the students mentally alert.
He added that it also made them to corporate with one another, as well as build up their self-confidence, and esteem and improve their leadership skills.
“In fact, research has shown that there is a positive correlation between sports and academic performance. The students also seize the opportunity to wind down because it cannot just be teaching and learning all the way, without some time off to play.
“Again, this year’s inter-house sports are very special because we are using them to celebrate an old boy from the college, Alhaji Okunu. We feel that based on his contributions to the development of this college and the nation at large, there is a need to recognise and do this year’s inter-house sports competition in his honour.
“That is why he is physically present here today, being accompanied by some other old boys of this great college, some of them, 80 years and above, joining in the celebration.
On his expectations from students, as they proceed to a short break for the general election, he said that the boys had been counselled to be cautious.
“The Ministry has graciously allowed us to go for a break from Wednesday. Feb. 22 to return on March 5, after the presidential election, when the tension of election activities must have simmered down.
“As they go home, they need to know where to move to, and when not to go out. Luckily enough, we had just had our general PTA meeting last week, where we also addressed the parents of the need to watch the children.
“This is because there is so much tension around this upcoming election, largely due to social media reports and so we have pleaded with our parents to watch our children closely for us. We do not want to miss any of them,” he said.
He then pleaded with stakeholders to do more in partnering with the institution especially in the area of funding, in a bid to further provide an enabling environment for both academic and sporting activities to thrive.
“You know, for example, an event of this capacity will demand funds, which of course we all know is limited. I will not just expect the government to do everything for us, because on its own part, it is also passing through a lot of challenges, having too many things jostling for its attention, even in the face of dwindling revenue.
“The parents too, however, are supporting to some extent. But we still appeal to them because they can still do more,” he said
On his part, a one-time Minister of National Planning and Transportation, Kalu Idika Kalu, lauded the college and the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) for the uniqueness of the games.
Kalu, also a former Minister of Finance and an old boy of the college said he felt excited and impressed about the various developments in the college and the organisation of the sporting event.
“I feel very glad to be a part of the ceremony today. You know I haven’t been to this ground for quite a while now. I must confess that I am very impressed by the arrangements that have been made for these games to hold and I indeed commend them. This is what we want to see.
“We want to see continuous improvement and not to come back and be confronted with how things have gone down. The PTA and the college are doing a great job. They have done a very good job today and it is very lively thank God for the beautiful weather,” he said.
He also expressed delight about the way they had been striving to sustain academic and moral excellence.
“Having said this, we are not too impressed that the overall standard seems to have come down, but even at that, we will still look at the curriculum we had in those days. These days they have a very extensive curriculum with all kinds of IT and so on. So, one has to take all that into account in passing a judgement.
“We want the country and certainly the school to get back to education. That is the key to everything. We can’t afford to relegate the importance of education to human capacity building and national development.
“We must continue to invest heavily in academics, sports, music, arts and a host of others. That is something that I will always recommend,” he said.
On the upcoming elections, Idika said that he studied at King’s College and saw everyone as a brother irrespective of the cultural, religious or ethnic divide.
He urged citizens to focus on persons they perceived could do the job credibly, regardless of regional, religious or any other consideration.
The Chairman of the PTA of the college, Mr Sunday Ameh said the association would not rest on its oars in promoting healthy rivalry and providing an enabling environment for both teaching and learning to thrive.
According to him, the interest of the students remains the topmost priority to the association and will stop at nothing, in ensuring all-round success in their development.
“I will say that today’s sporting competition has been very amazing and we are very happy to be part of it.
“In organizing this competition, we ensured that everything is in place. We will not want to be caught unawares in whatever form. As you can see, we had everything that mattered for the success of this game ready, including medics and an ambulance.
“As we all saw, there was an incident of exhaustion and immediately, the red cross personnel were right on time to take charge, with an ambulance waiting to do the needful should there be the need.
“This is how much we want to ensure that our students get the best care always,” he said.
Ameh, however, said the students would soon be released for a short break, following the upcoming general elections.
He, therefore, urged parents to live up to their responsibilities in ensuring the safety of their children and wards.
“This is a security challenging period. All parents must care for their children. Watch where they go and who they hang out with and ensure they get home early. They must not allow them to sit out with strangers, or go to places unknown to their, parents.
“We already have an ongoing orientation concerning safety during this period. We just concluded our general PTA meeting, where the message of security was duly passed to them.
We also told our parents not to allow any King’s College students to be used as political thugs.
“Demonstration for any reason is not for our boys. They must not allow these boys out, for any form of demonstration in the name of politics or whatever. That is the message from King’s College desk,” he stated.