Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has offered scholarships to pupils of Eyanogie Primary School who emerged Champions in the 7th edition of the Channels National Kids Football Competition held in Lagos.
The Governor who announced the scholarships offer to the pupils and other incentives at a reception held for the football champions and other pupils of the School at the Government House, Benin City said, “I am proud to say that these my children are from public schools, Edo State government-owned schools. They are not products of a private school and I think the lessons are many, that our public schools are very good and in most cases better than private schools.
“After their Primary School, we have decided to liaise with the authorities of our top Public Secondary School, Edo College that they should provide admission to all the pupils so that they can have quality Secondary education.
“We emphasized that because there would be temptation to say let’s send them to Private Schools. If they have done so well in our Public Primary School, I am sure they will do better in Edo College that has produced a lot of leaders not only in Edo State but across the country.
“Inasmuch as they should sustain the practice of football, they must also pay more attention to academics. We need footballers who can hold their ground in the field of play and also contribute to the growth and development of our great country and environment.
“In addition to this admission into Edo College, we are going to deposit with the college the cost of boarding facilities and any other charges that students of the college are expected to pay. We will write the cheques on behalf of the state that will cover their entire out-of-pocket expenses for the entire Junior and Senior Secondary Schools.
“We have also decided at the State Executive Council, in line with our policy of total transformation of our schools, that this Primary School, Eyanogie Primary School, Benin City will wear red roof immediately. We will rebuild it and put in modern furniture and we will rebuild the football pitch so that not only this set, but future pupils will enjoy the facilities. We will also ensure that we transfer a Games Master to the school who will coordinate and ensure that sporting activities are given its due recognition.
“While we need to invest in the schools is that we don’t want these guys to become good footballers without appropriate education because after 30, 35 years, those skills will be out of use but you need the brain to take you through the rigors of life.
“Let me congratulate my children, our children, for doing Edo State very proud. I was able to watch the players on Television and I was thrilled by what I saw. I have watched the young man, the Captain, he is a very gifted child, so articulate and I believe like his teammates, these young men, my own children are rare combination of brain and skills in the art of football. Oftentimes, people who are good in football may not be too good in academics but these seem to have both and I am proud of them.
“I also think it is a fitting occasion for us to celebrate Emmanuel Usoh for what he has done. He is not a rich man as far as I know. He is a Lawyer but not yet a Senior Advocate, we use him to collect taxes but he doesn’t spend it but from his very meager income, he finds space to sacrifice from his pocket to support and to sponsor these people all the way, even the cost of transporting them to Lagos, keeping them in Lagos and bringing them back was not borne by the State Government.
“There are couples of lessons from this; that all of us can contribute to the growth and development of our state in various ways. You don’t even need to be in government to do that. Usoh is not even in the Ministry of Sport, he is not in the Ministry of Education. There are so many foundations but he chose to identify with this particular course and you see the glory and honor it has brought to the state so Emmanuel I appreciate you. I have already written a commendation letter conveying our gratitude for his initiative and sacrifice.
“I also use this occasion to acknowledge the vision of the founder of Channels Television who by coincidence is also a distinguished and outstanding Edo Statesman, John Momoh who has pioneered this particular competition sponsored by Channels Television because it is Channels Television which has earned a huge reputation for itself, the station that chose to be on the side of the Nigeria nation, refusing to buckle under the weight of dollars, pounds, euro and naira that they were offered during the electioneering period. It became the only electronic media that you could trust as the others gave up under the way of partisanship.
“Having had such a reputation for itself, Channels also decided to promote this competition entirely at their own cost as well. Only an Edo man can do that; that is the spirit of the Edo man. So I want us to also appreciate Channels Television for leading by example and I am sure many of us have learnt a lot as to how we can serve our country and become a media for everyone that even in the face of competition or confusion, some of us can think straight and defend the cause of the Nigeria nation.
The Governor also gave a cash gift of N100,000 (one hundred thousand naira) to each of the 18 football players and N200,000 (two hundred thousand naira) each to the officials.