By Okosun Dennis

As part of its unflinching support for sports development and the discovery of talents, the President and Chairman Supreme Council, United International Peace and Governance Council (UNIPGC), Amb. Dr. Jonathan Ojadah, has said that UNIPGC will continue to inspire young athletes and prepare them adequately for future laurels in various sports.

He spoke as one of the lads being nurtured by UNIPGC, Miss Akokotu Semilore, who was a remarkable success as she clinched a gold medal in the Chess Competition.

Semilore, a 10-year-old primary six pupil of Lapido Primary School, Mushin, defeated other contestants in a Chess competition becoming 1st Best Pupil in South West Chess Competition (Girls Category), Ladipo Primary School in the 2023/2024 Mushin Local Government Education Authority (LGEA) Annual Merit Award presented to her on the 13th March, 2024.

The Certificate of Honour which was signed by the Education Secretary, Mushin LGEA, Princess Olufemi Akinlude on behalf of Lagos State Government, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Local Government Education Authority, Mushin, congratulated her for the enviable feat.

Also, Semilore, who said her teacher, Mr. Michael, taught her the games of chess, had earlier participated as an athlete in Lagos SUBEB (Chess) in the Basic Education Schools Sports Competition (BESS), South West First Edition, (Ekiti 2024) on the 19th January 2024, where she also came first.

The letter of Recognition and Invitation for the award stated that “Sequel to your superlative and meritorious performance in the recently conducted 2023/2024 Mushin Merit Award Selection Examination, the merit award Committee of the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board has unanimously selected Akokotu Semilore as the 1st Best in Chess Girl, South West for the merit award.

The ceremony that was held at the LGEA Secretariat Playground, 43, Olu-Aina Street, by Oye Bus Stop, Near Daleko Rice Market, Mushin, has qualified her to represent South West at the National level of the competition.

Semilore, it was gathered was introduced to Chess game at the age of eight by her former teacher who taught her with her friend, Ezenwa Victor. Her first competition was in her school at Mushin and later at Ekiti where she represented Southwest and will be representing the region in Abuja.

She explained, “I was first exposed to chess by my teacher, Mr. Michael, during break. I never knew they had a board. When I played it, I became excited and loved it. Chess gave me the luxury of time to do other things and has assisted me in discovering myself – my intellect and talent.

“I owe my in-depth appreciation to God, Mr. Michael and Amb. Jonathan Ojadah.”

Asked which career she would like to pursue, she retorted, “I want to become a Medical Doctor because they take good care of people. However, I am also teaching my best friend Akintayo Funke how to play. She is a good athlete and wants me to teach her chess.

“I want to encourage my friends by teaching them how to play the game of Chess. I am preparing well for the next competition and have been doing that without it affecting my studies,” Semilore noted.

The ecstatic father, Felix Urowe Akokotu, remarked, “I am excited and very happy. When I heard of the achievement she had made, I felt overjoyed.

At the moment, for better performance, “I intend to register her at the Yaba College of Technology, Chess Club for further knowledge and greater performance in subsequent games. I never knew she was that good in sports. When the call came that she was going to represent the local government, I felt elicited, Mr. Akokotu reiterated.

Also speaking, Mrs. Abosede Akokotu, mother of the girl, said she has brought so much pride to his family, saying “I am super-excited and thank God for this great feat. I also want to thank Amb. Dr. Jonathan Ojadah for his tenacious and dogged leadership and mentorship role to the young children, especially my daughter.”


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