National Council on Sports commits to April date for Sports Festival

Sunday Dare

– FG considers financial support

The Edo 2020 National Sports Festival earlier scheduled to hold from February 14th – 28th has been postponed till April. This decision was reached after the emergency meeting of the National Council on Sports convened by the Honourable Minister of youth and sports who is the chairman of council. In attendance were Commissioners of Youth and Sports from the states of the federation, Directors of Sports, Permanent Secretary. The Deputy Governor of Edo state was also in attendance.

This recent postponement was occasioned by the second wave of the pandemic and the paucity of funds. The Edo Govt had requested for financial support due to the cost implications it suffered arising from the postponement. The accommodation prepared at the University of Benin was no longer available for the Athletes because students had resumed.

Rising from the meeting of the National Council on Sports on Monday, 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 of the council, the Federal Government, 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.

According to the chairman of Council and Minister of Youth and sports Development Mr. Sunday Dare “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, Sunday 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.

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.”

On his part. The Chairman of the Main Organizing Committee and Edo State Deputy Governor Comrade Philip Shuaibu 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.”