The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has thrown his weight behind the revival of the National Principals Cup competition, saying it is a national asset for building the character of future leaders and uniting the nation.
Revealing that he played in both the Headmasters and Principals cup in his primary and secondary school days, he declared that the experience contributed to making him what he is today.
The Ooni gave his commitment to the success of the ongoing revival of the event in Ile Ife on Monday when a delegation of the Organising Committee led by Dr Ademola Are, Director of Grassroots Sports at the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development paid him a courtesy call to seek his royal blessings.
“The reason why I am excited today is that I played in the Headmasters Cup and I played in the Principals Cup. They are the greatest assets to cultivate the subconscious nature or mind of the average Nigerian youth. It is very important that you are bringing the Principals Cup back. It will solve idleness, it will solve youth employment. It will provide opportunity for a lot of people to display their talent. I am a living testimony.
“The Principals Cup was one of the greatest programmes organise by the Federal Government. It goes round every corner. The dedication and commitment from all corners was a lot. That time there was very few crime rate because you are preparing the mind of the youths to be responsible. Football is all about responsibility. You must be responsible with the ball you are holding and careful not to lose it to the opponent. So, psychologically, you are preparing future generations that must be responsible.
“It takes care of the children from ages 12 to 17 many of whom today do not know that there is a programme that brings them together. Let us use this programme to unite our nation and I really commend the ministry led by Sunday Dare for the initiative. He is very active very energetic. He wants to turn things around in a twinkle of an eye and I am very appreciative of all the things he is trying to put in place.”
The Ooni urged the organisers to remain focused assuring them that with good organisation sponsors will be magnetically attracted to support the event.
Earlier, Dr Are informed the Ooni that though the Principals Cup is traditionally a football event, the Minister of Sports has considered it necessary to include other sports including boxing, badminton, athletics, swimming and table tennis so as to provide opportunity for youths who are talented in other sports.
Also speaking at the occasion, Pastor Tony Pemu, the Managing Director of Hideaplus, the consultancy firm for the event, informed the Ooni that the award of the Most Valuable Player of the Principals Cup has been instituted in his name.
Present at the occasion were Dr Rafiu Ladipo of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club, Fred Edoreh, former chairman of the Lagos chapter of the Sports Writers Association and media consultant for the event, Toyosi Oyetunji, Digital Marketing and Communications consultant amongst others.