Sports Festival: National Council On Sports Commits To April Date

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As FG Considers Financial Support

The much talked about National Sports Festival tagged Edo 2020 earlier scheduled to hold from February 14th to February 28th has been  shifted to April 2021.

This decision was reached after the emergency meeting of the National Council on Sports convened by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare in his capacity as chairman of the council. 

In attendance at the meeting were Commissioners of Youth and Sports from the 36 states of the federation and Directors of Sports from the FCT. Also in attendance was the deputy governor of Edo state, Phillip Shuaibu

The recent postponement was occasioned by the second wave of the pandemic and the paucity of funds. The Edo Government had earlier requested for financial support due to the cost implications it suffered arising from the postponement. 

Rising from the meeting  of the National Council  on Sports, the Council resolved  that it was best to shift  the Festival  to a later date due to financial challenges   raised by the host state,  accommodation problems  at the University  of Benin due to the resumption  of academic activities  which would affect the camping of athletes. 

According to the resolution reached by the council, the Federal Government,  the Edo State and the Council on Sports  agreed that the Festival will  now hold in April since the earlier February  date was no longer feasible. 

“We have seen the Sports Festival postponed three times. As we speak now, most of us should have arrived Edo state getting ready for February 14 to start the Edo 2020 Sports Festival. But flowing from our last meeting a few things came up. There was an undertone that the postponements have occasioned some financial difficulties and strains on the host state, and I dare say even on our part as the Ministry the postponements have also occasioned some financial difficulties.” 

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“On the strength of this similar experience myself, His Excellency the Governor and also Deputy Governor have bounced ideas, the conversation, back and forth. Of course, when December came, we know that almost everything stopped but it was agreed that it was important to approach the Federal Government for financial support. I’m glad to report that the Federal Government is favourably disposed to assisting Edo State to host the Festival.”

“In the next few days, we hope to push through the document through the Ministry of Finance to get the financial support to get the Festival on track. The February 14th date was not cast in stone as we wanted to avoid another postponement. But we must agree that the February 14th date is no longer feasible. The importance of the Festival cannot be over emphasized.  The idea of not holding the Festival should be thrown out completely. It is an Olympics year, it would help shape the athletes for the Olympics.”

Edo State deputy governor, Comrade Philip Shuaibu, who is the chairman of the Main Organizing Committee (MOC) said, “I agree the Festival should hold before the Olympics to get our athletes fit and to secure points they require for the Olympics. Every postponement goes with a cost, but we are totally committed to hosting the festival. We are very expectant of the support of the Federal Government  to make the Festival  a reality.”

About Taofeek Olayemi Lawal 185 Articles
Taofeek Olayemi Lawal is a senior correspondent with 9News Nigeria. Reporter for Women Advancement For Economic & Leadership Empowerment Foundation in Africa (WAELE). He has over 10 years experience in journalism and served as Senior Correspondent for LEADERSHIP Newspaper Abuja as well as Champion Newspaper Limited, Lagos. Contact Taofeek Olayemi Lawal by email or phone call. Phone: +234 805 307 4114, 081 0464 0001 Email: sportsesho@yahoo.com

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