Osun, Lagos Partner to Sustain Bola Ige’s Legacy in Calisthenics

n a bid to emulate the legacies of  late former Attorney-General, Chief Bola Ige (SAN), the Lagos State government has gone into partnership with the government of Osun State to replicate the Young Pioneers’ Club (Egbe Kekere Akin) established under the  administration of late Ige in the old Oyo State in the early 80s.

Calisthenics was an initiative of late Chief Bola Ige during his administration as the governor of the old Oyo state and during this period, it was an event that improved the profile of the state and attracted tourists from far and near. Aside this, it was an important part of the educational system that was believed to aid the overall development of students.

But this became a thing of the past in the south-western part of Nigeria as a result of military incursion into government and remained so until recently when the governor of Osun state, Ogbeni Rauf Aregesola resuscitated calisthenics as part of the overall redesign and re-organisation of the education system in the state.

Spurred by the calisthenics display of students at the 25th anniversary of the creation of the State of Osun last year August, the Lagos state government led by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode went into partnership with Osun state to train students in calisthenics in preparation of the ‘Lagos @ 50’ celebrations coming up in May.

Lagos state government’s decision to enter the partnership was due to the passion to train students and youths in the state on fundamentals of calisthenics to ensure they also have the necessary skills like their counterparts in Osun.

The Deputy Governor of the state, Idiat Adebule, had while receiving a six-man delegation from Osun in her office at Alausa recently, stated that the state went into the partnership with Osun in order to aid the development of students in the state mentally, physically and socially, adding that governor Ambode was impressed by the breathtaking calisthenics performances at the Osogbo City Stadium and has decided to replicate same in Lagos State.

“We are partnering with Osun State to share ideas and learn from them to ensure a historic performance at the Lagos @50 celebration and beyond.One of the components of calisthenics is to give meaning to the total package of educational training for young minds. We are starting this training with our students and we will extend it to the youth in the state,” Adebule said.

For governor Aregbesola, reviving calisthenics was in part a way of sustaining the “worthy legacies” of previous leaders and to him, the Osun School Calisthenics is not a frivolous brainwave that will be swept away by the tide of time because he views physical education with all seriousness, regarding formal education as incomplete without its physical development component.

He believes that calisthenics is not only an out-of-school sports activity but a lifestyle-change project for building a new generation of students who are physically fit, mentally sound and socially well-adjusted, stressing that the programme is supported by practices in other lands and climes.

The governor stated that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) regards physical education programmes as part of its crucial brief, adding that physical education is necessary for the development of a healthy and wholesome human personality.

The Osun School Calisthenics began in 2012 with the assistance of Cuban duo, Francis Rodriguez and Raiza Guerra, who trained the first set that performed during the 21st anniversary of the creation of Osun as well as some trainers with 8,000 athletes drawn from 24 schools and 60 coaches trained in the nine federal constituencies in the state to become the first in the country to revive the calisthenics initiative.

Aregbesola believes that calisthenics will improve the psychomotor skills of students and create the right atmosphere to achieve group cohesion and discipline while inculcating the values of hard work and creativity into the school children.

In Osun state, calisthenics is now a huge part of the school curriculum as the coaches trained by the Cubans have gone on to train the next generation of pupils, reiterating the governor’s belief that calisthenics is a lifestyle-change project for building a new generation of students.

And with the Osun state prototype as guide, Lagos state is also set to revive the laudable initiative of Late Bola Ige and bring glory to the south-west