Benin, Feb. 9, 2020 As contingents from 35 States of the Federation, and the FCT, prepare to arrive in Benin, for the 20th National Sports Festival (NSF) scheduled to begin on Sunday, a credible Edo Government official says the festival may be postponed yet again owing to paucity of funds.
The source, who confirmed the planned postponement, in an interview with newsmen on Monday, in Benin, said both the Edo and the Federal Governments were currently working on sorting out issues as regards the hosting.
“I can categorically tell you that the festival will no longer commence on Feb. 14th, as earlier announced by the Minister of Youths and Sports, Mr Sunday Dare.
“The same reason given by Gov. Godwin Obaseki is still the reason why the festival will not hold as rescheduled. You will recall that the Governor said that the state needs financial support from the federal government to be able to host the festival.
“The state is ready for the hosting; facilities and other logistics, aside fund, needed for a successful festival are ready and Edo will host the best festival ever if government yields to its request for support.
“The state has put in place some of the best sporting facilities this country has ever seen, in preparation for the hosting of the festival. The Covid-19 pandemic has not really helped at all and we hope that the government will accede to our sincere request,” the source, who craved anonymity, said.
The source, however, said that the federal government may soon announce a new date for the fiesta, as soon as it concludes talks with the Edo government on funding the festival.
“I can confirm to you that there is already a discussion by both parties, on how to resolve the funding matter and only then will a new date be fixed by the government, when things are sorted out,” the source said.
Naija247news reports that the festival, earlier scheduled to hold between March 22 and April 1, 2020, had suffered several postponements, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The festival was expected to receive athletes from across the country, competing for 3000 medals in 33 sports, across 22 venues.