May 25, 2022


Official Website Of Union Of Campus Journalits, University of Ilorin.

NUGA2022: Extracurricular activities does not stop academic excellence.

6 min read

The NUGA games provides an avenue for students to excel beyond academics.

Adebola Makinde

Tomiwa Ademiju, a 400 level Common law student of the University of Ilorin, Nigeria participated in basketball games of Nigerian Universities Games Association tagged NUGA2022 which was hosted by the University of Lagos. As for her, she had grown to love the game of basketball and even participating in competitions. NUGA wasn’t her first.

“Basketball isn’t stressful for me. It is fun”. Tomiwa said this reacting to her choice of becoming a basketball lawyer which translates to being a sports lawyer. “Having experience in sport may prove useful in that field”.

Her team didn’t make it to the finals, meanwhile, the male category made first place in the semi final.

“I have been playing basketball since secondary school and I was attracted to it because it was one of the major sports my school engaged in.” – Ademiju

As a law student who has a lot to read and goes after her passion in basketball, she finds it seamless to study alongside training. “I create time for both and prioritize when necessary” she said responding to how she balances study with sport.

The Nigerian University Games Association was formed in July 1965, shortly after the 1st West African University Games that was held at the University of Ibadan earlier that year.

In 1966, the first Nigerian University Games was held at the University of Ibadan the five Universities in Nigeria at that time namely: University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile-Ife; University of Nigeria, Nsukka; University of Lagos, Akoka and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

A total of 75 Universities competed in 26th NUGA games hosted by the University of Lagos  which lasted for 10 days starting from March 16th to March 25th. The University of Ilorin ranked 3rd runner-up of 75 schools.


Sports and Academics do not affect one another

“Sport to me is a competitive activity or event that requires devotion, discipline, fair play and most importantly passion” – Opedimeji

“I can say this – every single player I’ve played with in the University of Ilorin Scrabble Team has excelled in academics”.

Rasak-Oyadiran Opedimeji, a Scrabble player in the 25th and 26th NUGA games asserts that academics and sports work hand-in-hand. Participating in sports helps academics.

“The game requires a lot mentally. Reading doesn’t become a burden because in Scrabble you literally spend hours reading, combining words , anagramming and many more”, Opedimeji said.

The 500 level student of Surveying and Geoinformatics was introduced to the game by his family. This would eventually guarantee him and his team medals.

“I started playing Scrabble as a family game before I was introduced to the game in the real sense of it. The exposure I had then really made it my game and the experience became a passion for me”, he added.

Another, a Taekwondo athlete during the NUGA games identified as Idrak, a penultimate student of the English department, said sports has helped him in his day-to-day activities in life.

“Taekwondo has helped me in terms of relentlessness. The kind of training I get in Taekwondo is so hard that it always makes me want to stop but with time I develop the spirit and in everyday life it is obvious.”

“Apart from that, Taekwondo is a sport of discipline and respect. That is always what you see in a Taekwondo practitioner’s day-to-day activities”, he explained further.

Idrak on red helmet during training.


Distance barrier isn’t a problem

Distance proved not to be a problem – only officials and athletes were given accommodation by the association. Students and graduates from different parts of the country came to witness the game.

Mustapha Ibrahim, a French undergrad, was not aware of the screening process that players had undergone in order to verify them for the NUGA games. “There’s always a linguistic immersion program for the 300level students every second semester. We went to Badagry and I missed the screening. I was away while it took place”, he complained bitterly.

A seasoned Footballer. He has made impact even beyond his department. “I represented my department in the last year FASA Dean’s Cup and I also represented and captained my department to a second placed finish in Badagry during our immersion program. I also won the best football player during my department dinner and the award for best player at Badagry too. Alhamdulillah!”, Ibrahim noted enthusiastically proving his feat.

Even so, being sad that he wasn’t able to participate in the NUGA22 game, he was able to watch the football game without thinking about the distance even though he stays within Lagos.

Salaudeen Olayinka Nurein, a 300 level student of the Sociology department and yet-to-be inaugurated Faculty Public Relations Officer, joined in the NUGA games only to share updates on Twitter as part of his commitment and interest. “I didn’t follow them, I had some pressing issues to attend to. I joined them the following day when they got to Unilag”, he said.

A graduate of the 2019 set identified as Ayanlade Boluwatife also, a former Unilorin school football team player testified that the live presentation of the event was superb although he witnessed two matches physically.


Sports as an ambition

“My ambition is to compete in the Olympics” – Adeyanju

A Taekwondo athlete from the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) has the ambition of fighting in the Olympics. Michelle Adeyanju, a 300 level student of Art and Social Education said, “I love fighting. My ambition is to compete in the Olympics”.

As for Opedimeji, he sees no reason any athlete shouldn’t aim for the top in whichever area one finds themselves in. “As an athlete in any sport at all, competing and succeeding at a professional level should be a goal and when that is achieved other goals to improve or develop the game may come into place”.

Ajao Sodiq, Most Valuable Player

“I have an ambition to become a Footballer ” said Ajao Sodiq, the Most Valuable Player of the NUGA football games. Having been an athlete in the last football games of the 25th NUGA games held in Makurdi, he’s had experience which would bring him a second time honorable mention as a MVP. “I have been in Kwara Football Academy before I gained admission into Unilorin and I started playing for school right from my 100 level; however, the last nuga that was held in Makurdi, Unilorin came second place and I’m happy to be among them”, Ajao added.

Benedict, a 400 level Quantity Surveying student inspired by his father aims to work for the army. “I would love to join the armed forces later after school using sports as a short service”, he said.

Benjamin during the preliminary.  


Making history

“Last time, we came 6th on the medals table, this one saw us come 4th with higher number of medals” – Afolayan

Afolayan Toyosi, the former Sports Secretary made mention of the new feat in the history of Unilorin sports. “It’s not been easy. We’ve had rough patches but God has helped us thus far. During our administration, we’ve reached new heights. We won laurels with our teams and it’s the highest in the history of the school”.

When asked to make a comment about students who find it hard to combine academics with extracurricular activities, Afolayan provided the benefits of the synergy between academics and extracurricular activities – “They’d enjoy it and it doesn’t affect their education also they can build a career for themselves. They should not renege in their training, make videos of themselves in action and also balance their academics also”.

For one to participate in the NUGA games, Afolayan provided the necessary steps. “The athlete must be registered by his or her school for a sport then must participate in the preliminary rounds”, he simply stated. As for payment, only a feeding allowance is needed. Others are being covered, Afolayan noted.

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