Sonny Echono

The Federal Ministry of Education has advised students to stay clean and resist any pressure to use substances to enhance their performances during sporting activities.

The Permanent Secretary, Mr. Sonny Echono, gave the advice at the 99th annual inter-house sports competition of the King’s College, Lagos.

Echono, who was represented by the Director, Basic and Secondary Education, Dr. Lami Amodu, said the spirit of competitiveness is expected at every sporting event, adding that there could therefore be pressure on contestants to go against their friends in such competitions.

He sports should promote discipline, team spirit and healthy rivalry, as well as promote national and international peace, understanding and cooperation.

“It is in line with the foregoing reasons that the Federal Ministry of Education has continued to encourage sporting activities such as the one we are witnessing here today.

“Here, your character will be tested and your friendship will be put to test. Whatever it feels, bear in mind that the drive to win is a key factor in life, and the means through which you achieve success is important.

According to Echono, the World Anti-doping Agency and the Nigeria Olympic Committee are seriously discouraging of forms of cheating in the various sports.

He said Nigeria is working hard to ensure that unity colleges and other schools would continue to organise inter-house sports competitions devoid of any form of cheating.

Echono stated that sports has been recognised worldwide as an integral part of formal education because of its invaluable contribution to the physical, mental and emotional capabilities of the individual athlete.

“When the faculties are sharpened through sports, application to studies becomes relatively easy, but when they are not, academic work becomes drudgery. This explains why the National Policy on Education included physical and health education in the curriculum at the basic and secondary levels.”

He lauded the various stakeholders in the college for their contributions to sustain its core values and legacies.
Echono also called for more collaboration from individuals and the private sector, saying that government alone cannot sufficiently provide all the needed funds for optimum development of education because of competing needs.

The Principal of King’s College, Mr. Isaac Kolawole, appealed to the ministry to consider landscaping sporting fields and upgrade facilities at both campuses of the college.

“Our environment at both campuses are below sea level, and we are always threatened by waterlog. There is the need for some landscaping of the fields to raise them. This will provide a better platform for sporting activities to thrive.

“All the courts are dilapidated with cracks, just like our gymnasium requires modern equipment.

“I know government is doing a lot to improve facilities in unity colleges across the country, especially here in our school, but I still want to appeal for more to be done on the structures as they are getting weak judging from the age of the college.

“In just one year that I spent here, I have been able to carry out some renovations in about four blocks to ensure we have a conducive teaching and learning environment,” he said.

He said since King’s College is a heritage school and a UNESCO site, all hands must be on deck to ensure that it would continue to occupy its position as the foremost unity school in the country.

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