Minister inaugurates 2022 National Sports Festival MOC, charges Delta to surpass Edo standard
• Dare, OKowa sign MoU
Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, yesterday in Asaba charged Delta State to surpass the standard set by immediate past hosts of the National Sports Festival, Edo State, when it hosts the 21st edition of the festival next year.
An extraordinary National Council of Sports meeting held in Asaba, yesterday, where November 2 to 14 was picked as date for the 2022 National Sports Festival.
Speaking at the event, Dare, who also unveiled members of the Main Organising Committee (MOC) for the festival, urged the government of Delta State and members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) to stage a Games that Nigerians will be proud of.
He said: “The names I saw in the LOC set up by Delta State are familiar names. The task is upon you. Warri no dey carry last. We saw the standard at Edo 2020, Asaba 2022 must surpass that standard. I don’t have any doubt in my mind that Delta State government will give us the best Games in 2022.”
The Sports Minister praised Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for the steps he has taken in repositioning sports in the state, adding, “his adoption of 12 Nigerian athletes, the biggest in the adopt-an-athlete initiative ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games played a huge role. I am happy one of the athletes, Ese Brume, got a medal. I am proud of what Okowa has done for sports.”
Dare also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for creating the enabling environment for new and progressive ideas to thrive in sports ecosystem, revealing that the NDP 2021-2024 allocated N88 billion to sports development for the first time, with youth development also getting an allocation of N60 billion.
Replying, Governor Okowa assured that Asaba 2022 National Sports Festival will be the best ever.
He revealed that he was motivated to bid for the hosting rights by what he described as enthusiasm displayed by the Sports Minister, Sunday Dare.
“I was almost discouraged from bidding to host the sports festival because of what was happening in Nigerian sports then. But I can see the enthusiasm Sunday Dare has put in since he came.
“Asaba 2022 will be the best in terms of infrastructure and others that will be in place in the next few months. We have the personal to stage a fun-filled and friendly sports festival from the beginning to the end,” Okowa stated.
Chairman of the LOC, who is also Secretary to Delta State Government, Chief Patrick Ukah, promised they will host a bigger, better and athletes-based sports festival.
Meanwhile, Chairman of Delta State Sport’s Commission and co-chairman of Asaba 2022 National Sports Festival, Chief Tonobok Okowa, has revealed that the state has embarked on construction of new infrastructure, including a Games Village ahead of the sports festival.
After consultation with all stakeholders yesterday, both the LOC and the sports ministry agreed that arrival for Asaba 2022 National Sports Festival will be on November 2 and 3 with the opening ceremony on November 4 and closing ceremony November 13, while the contingents will depart November 14 and the Games Village closed on November 15, 2022.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development and Delta State government for Asaba 2022 was signed by Sports Minister, Sunday Dare and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa at the Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba, yesterday.