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Porbeni wants Edo 2020 Sports Festival postponed over insecurity

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‘Two bomb blasts in Benin is unhealthy for competitions’

Former Nigerian jumper, hurdler and sprinter, Seigha Porbeni, says the current insecurity situation in Benin City, Edo State capital is unhealthy for athletes to compete in the fast-approaching 20th National Sports Festival.

In fact, Porbeni, who competed in seven different sports in his active days, wants Edo 2020 National Sports Festival postponed to avoid ‘risking’ the lives of athletes, officiating officials and spectators.

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The Guardian recalls that the secretary of the Edo State branch of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Lawrence Okah, narrowly escaped death on Tuesday when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) exploded at his residence in what has been linked to the squabbles over Edo 2020 governorship election.

Before Tuesday’s bombing, the Benin home of a leader of the party in Edo Central Senatorial District, Chief Francis Inegbeniki, was attacked with explosives.“We have only a few weeks to Edo 2020 National Sports Festival and bombs are flying around in Benin City. I think there should be outright postponement of the festival because the insecurity level in the city might likely affect general attendance, which in turn might affect the overall Olympics preparation by the various sports federations. This festival falls in an Olympics year, and many sports federations will use it to showcase their athletes. But from what is happening now, I doubt if any serious minded parents would send their kids to an insecure zone,” he stated.

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Speaking further, he said: “I don’t want people to read a different meaning to what I am saying. It will not be wise for our athletes to compete under such situation because it might affect them psychologically in their overall preparations for the Olympics. The federal government should do something fast.”

Porbeni, a former Director of Sports in Delta State Sports Council, however, appealed to politicians fighting for the soul of Edo State politics to shelve their swords in the interest of the youths and ‘our beloved’ country.

Edo was handed the hosting rights of the 20th NSF by the Ministry of Youth and Sports during the tenure of Solomon Dalung at the grand finale of the 19th edition held in Abuja in 2018.

Edo 2020 Sports fiesta is expected to hold between March 20 and April 3. The third edition Edo State festival, a mini trial to select athletes who will represent Team Edo at the National Sports Festival is currently going on at the University of Benin Sports Complex.

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