The scourge of secret cult, presently ravaging the country's educational institutions, is a consequence of the doldrums in which sporting activities are in the schools, according to President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Obasanjo, in a message sent to the closing ceremony of the First President Cup, Nigerian Academicals Football championship at Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi at the weekend, said at the inception of his administration, he instructed the ministries of Education, Sports and Social Development, to prepare a blueprint for the championship.
He said further in a speech read on his behalf by Governor George Akume of Benue State that government's action was aimed at addressing the problem of secret cult and other vices prevalent.
According to him: "I am highly elated that the competition has become a reality (and) has not only assisted in identifying hidden talents but has also channelled students' thought and energy positively towards sports, thereby curbing the state of cults and other vices.
"Many who know of my keen interest in sports and the deep meaning of fellowship embedded in sportsmanship, as a driving force for unity, would have realised before I say it, that this event is more than the finals of the President Cup and Football Championship for me".
President Obasanjo said the other objectives of President Cup tourney are to develop the "wealth of talents of our youths in football and to bring those talents to stardom, even while in school".
While promising to sustain the competition as a demonstration of government's commitment to the development of enormous human and material resources of the country, President Obasanjo hopes the products of the championship will soon begin to feed clubs and the national teams.
"This government will not relent on its efforts to see the eventual transformation of the championship to a recruiting ground for the Super Eagles," President Obasanjo added.
He reeled out a "sportsman codes of conduct" to the students. They are: "Superior skills are the only advantage, all others are unfair; official decision are always hornest and fair; the only satisfaction worth having is to have played fairest and hardest for the team; victory has to be accepted modestly; defeat has to be taken gracefully and it is undesirable to give excuses for poor performance," said Obasanjo.
Incentives to encourage secondary schools to participate in the championship include scholarships.
Benue State team defeated their Rivers counterpart 1-0 to emerge the champions.