‘We Are Still Waiting For Resources To Host Sports Festival’ – Edo Govt
Once more, there are palpable doubts that the 2020 National Sports Festival, NSF slated to hold from 2nd to 14th April this year could be postponed again, Bestchoicesports.com.ng can report
The NSF initially scheduled to hold from 22nd to 1st April 2020 was postponed indefinitely following the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country and the entire world. The festival has however suffered three more different postponements since then.
Although the last postponement from February was premised on lack of fund and Edo State’s (host state) request for financial assistant from the federal government, the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, LOC for the festival, Comrade Philip Shaibu (who is also Edo State Deputy Governor) said the state is yet to receive the fund as promised by the federal government.
However, a meeting was held in Benin, Edo state capital Thursday to, inter alia, decide the fate of the 20th National Sports Festival, tagged, Edo 2020. Although the outcome of the meeting is not yet in the public domain, the Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, told journalists on Monday that the state was still waiting for the funds promised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to host the Games.
Comrade Shaibu said: “The sports minister, Mr. Sunday Dare, has given a date for the commencement of the festival. We are in touch with him and still waiting for resources to host the game. The moment the resources are available, we are ready.
“What actually led to the latest postponement is the unavailability of funds and the minister has assured that funding is not the problem. We have always been ready in Edo and we are ready. We need funds that can take us through. I don’t know what the ministry has approved and nobody has told me what has been approved. What has been approved is still speculation.”
On Wednesday, a member of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), told The Guardian that the sports minister, Sunday Dare, will visit Benin City today (Thursday) to hold a meeting with Governor Godwin Obaseki and his Deputy Philip Shaibu, on several issues, top of which is the April 2 commencement date.
“We are expecting the Sports Minister in Benin City tomorrow (Thursday),” the LOC official said. “He is coming to hold a meeting with Governor Obaseki, his Deputy Shaibu, and other key stakeholders on whether or not the April 2 flag off will still stand. It is after the meeting that we will be able to say if the National Sports Festival will still hold from April 2-14 as earlier scheduled.”
It was not clear Wednesday if the bad blood generated over the erection of signboard by a contractor said to be working for the sports ministry on a sports facility ‘already refurbished’ by the Edo State government for the 20th National Sports Festival has been finally settled.