By Joseph Kingston, Calabar
A student of the College of Education Akamkpa in Cross River state, whose name was given as Esther Edet, has been expelled from the ongoing 19th Edition of Nigerian Colleges of Education Games, NICEGA at Federal College of Education, Obudu in northern Cross River, for allegedly refusing to sing the national anthem together with other participants.
She was said to have flouted the rules that all student and participant should stand while the nation’s anthem is rendered. Authorities said the expulsion would serve as deterrent to other participants who may attempt to go against the rules of the game.
NICEGA National President, Dr Sanusi Mohammed, who expelled Edet said, “All participants must obey the rule and play by them, any athlete who goes contrary to the regulations of the games will be shown the way out. And that is why I am expelling this participant for her attitude and disposition when the National anthem was sung. This will serve as a deterrent to others to always obey the rules of the game.”
But speaking to our reporter, the said student said she was weak and could not stand during the anthem, saying her attitude was not premeditated and that it was not connected to any religious belief or any anything as some people had said.
However, in his remarks during the games, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu said sports has ability to foster peace and friendship, boost any economy and transform any society as it encourages healthy competitions and create a veritable platform that can transform any society to a better one.
His words: “Sports participation from ancient time has always provided the right atmosphere through which people of all races; color and tribes gather together to foster friendship, peace and unity as well as boost their economy because of the massive economic activities it generates.
“Apart from improving the mental fitness of the people which in turn boosts the productive capacity of and enhances human resources to dish out optimal service delivery, the transformation that sport has brought to nations and individuals gives me good assurance that we can have a better society if our leaders at all levels can continue to contribute financially to sports programmes.
“It encourages healthy competition with fair play and builds gentlemanly conducts in all participation. Many individuals have become global personalities through participation in sports and games under the right leadership,” he said.
Adamu who was represented by the Vice Chancellor of University of Calabar,UniCal, Prof. Zana Akpagu called for the encouragement of youth, sighting a one-time international soccer star and currently the president of Liberia, George Weah, as a perfect example.
“Our youth, the future leaders of this great country, should be encouraged at all times, in their sports endeavors through which the right leadership training can be imparted ,to guarantee a better future for all. Today, we have George Weah, one time International Soccer Star as President of Liberia.
“The present government will continue to encourage sports at all levels so that our dreams of having a peaceful, united society and a progressive society can be fulfilled. We are committed to supporting sporting activities in the country and for various motivational incentives to athletes that brings honor to the country,” he said.
Speaking also, Provost, Federal College of Education, Obudu, FCEO,Dr. James Ejue said sport world over apart from inculcating the ideal values preaches love and friendship which in no small way keep us together as a people and a nation.
He called on the participants to look beyond mundane and primordial cleavages of tribal and ethnic sentiments and respond positively to overtures of friendship among themselves and avoid all vices including drug abuse.”