The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has called on the Federal Government to redeem the outstanding ₦500 million which it pledged towards the hosting of the last edition of the National Sports Festival, (NSF) tagged Edo 2020.
Obaseki made the appeal on Friday when he received the report of the Edo 2020 sports fiesta from the Local Organising Committee, LOC, headed by his deputy, Philip Shaibu, at the Government House in Benin City.
Noting that the national sports competition had ignited the spirit of sportsmanship amongst young people, the governor said the state set a new record in the hosting of the games.
According to him, “I will talk on the issue of the outstanding ₦500 million that the Federal Government promised to contribute to the games. The Chief of Staff to the President made a commitment to the state government that the federal government will fulfill its pledge.”
Governor Obaseki said the failure to fulfill the promise made by the federal government would not encourage other states that would want to make a commitment to host the games in the future. He said the state opted to host the festival at a difficult time when COVID-19 was ravaging the world, positing that the state hosted a successful sports fiesta against all odds.
According to him, “We have set a new standard in games administration in Nigeria. Apart from improving infrastructure, building Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium and 20 other mini stadia, the standard and conduct during the games have established clearly that the state has created a new era in terms of managing sporting festivals in the country.”
Commending the LOC for the hosting of the sports tourney, Obaseki said “Most impressive for me is the prudent management of scarce resources. I want to thank the team for the discipline in procurement, management of finances, and accountability. I thank the committee for a great performance in helping the state host a successful National Sports Festival.”
Presenting the report, Shaibu thanked the governor for the opportunity given members of the committee to serve in such a capacity, noting that the national competition was a great success. He said the report of the LOC would be submitted to the minister of Youths and Sports, as well as the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) Abuja.
Recall that the Edo 2020 sports meet was almost aborted April 7, 2021, following the decision of the host state to shut down the festival due to paucity of funds. The government however rescinded its decision following the intervention of the federal government which promised to contribute ₦500 million to support the festival. But more than 10 months after, the federal government was yet to redeem the pledge.
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