Presidency’s fund for sports festival ready, Dare assures Obaseki, LOC
• Buhari To Declare Games Open April 6
After series of postponements, a green light has finally come for the 20th National Sports Festival, tagged, Edo 2020, as Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, assured Edo State government yesterday that the money approved by the Presidency for the Games will be delivered soon.
Dare, who arrived in Benin City on Thursday for a meeting with Obaseki, his Deputy, Philip Shaibu, and members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), affirmed that the festival will hold as scheduled from April 2 to 14, 2021.
A member of the LOC, Ebomhiana Musa told The Guardian shortly after the meeting yesterday afternoon that camp will officially open on April 2, while President Muhammadu Buhari will declare the Games open virtually on April 6.
“The meeting has just ended and the Sports Minister is on his way for Abuja,” Musa, who is also the Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu (LOC Chairman), said. “He assured Governor Obaseki and members of the LOC that the money approved by the Presidency for the Games will come before the commencement date. The Sports Minister said he was going to Abuja to do a quick follow-up on the release of the money.”
Musa further disclosed that the Sports Minister assured them that Edo State would also serve as a camping ground for Nigerian athletes slated for the Tokyo Olympics.
“The Sports Minister said we should take Mr. President on his word to support Edo financially for the Sports Festival. He also said Edo has the best equipment and facilities of global standard to camp Team Nigeria athletes for the Olympics.
The Guardian recalls that the 20th National Sports Festival was postponed a few days to its commencement in March 2020, following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thereafter, the Ministry of Youths and Sports Development fixed the Games for December 3 to 18 and was later moved to January 3 to 17, 2021, but many stakeholders complained that it would be unwise for athletes to compete two days after the New Year festivity. The date was later shifted to February 14 to 28, 2021 by the National Council on Sports (NCS), it but did not see the light of day. The new date of April 2 to 14 was fixed after the Edo State government complained of a lack of funds to host the Games.
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