With less than 10 days to go for the 2020 National Sports Festival, NSF scheduled to hold in Benin, Edo State capital from April 2nd to 14, 2021, there are indications that the festival could suffered another postponement.
This is no thanks to the federal government’s inability to release the expected funds for the festival to the Edo state government.
Although the governor of the state, Gov. Godwin Obaseki Friday last week flagged off the countdown to the Festival holding saying the festival would help to unite the entire nation, the Chairman, Local Organising Committee, LOC, Comrade Philip Shaibu appealed to the federal government to release the fund to enable the state host the games.
Comrade Shaibu, said at a news conference that the appeal became necessary to avoid further postponement of the games.
Shaibu who is the Deputy Governor of Edo, noted that the state had lost a huge amount of money due to these postponements.
He however said that aside the challenges of funding, the state was well prepared to host the rest of the country.
“We are ready. We have always been ready. However, we incurred a huge cost over the postponements the games have suffered occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We again agreed to host in anticipation of Federal Government’s support. We are using this medium to appeal to the Federal Government to release this funds to avoid another postponement,” the LOC chairman stated.
Shaibu also reiterated adherence to the guidelines that had been released by the organisers of the games.
He said the guidelines were released after a meeting between the LOC and the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
“Part of the decisions taken at the meeting was that all participating athletes must carry out COVID-19 test 72 hours before arriving in Edo on April 2 when the festival is scheduled to commence.”
Shaibu further said the athletes must have taken the COVID-19 vaccine, at least 12 days before the commencement of the festival.
“We are doing all we can to ensure that the virus is not spread during the games and we are working assiduously with all stakeholders to ensure this is achieved
“The officials of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), will be in Edo four days before the commencement of the games,” the 20th NSF LOC chairman said.