FG, Edo Govt flex muscles over ongoing National Sports Festival


The Federal Government and the Edo State Government are at the opposite sides of continuing the ongoing 20th National Sports Festival (NSF).

A project manager in the Media and Communication Sub-Committee for the games, Musa Ebomhiana, had on Wednesday threatened to shut down the festival if the Federal Government refuses to support the state with the fund as promised.

Ebomhiana said that the decision was taken after an emergency meeting of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) under the headship of the state Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu.

He said, “The Local Organizing Committee, Edo2020 regrets to announce that it will end the games abruptly tomorrow, Thursday, April 8, 2021, for lack of funds.

“Rising from an emergency meeting this evening, the LOC says it has to take this hard decision due to lack of funds having expended its reserves to kick start the games.

“Regrettably, the FG is yet to redeem its pledge to support us as the host state financially for the cost of postponements. So, we are left with no option but to end the games at noon tomorrow.”

Meanwhile the FG has countered the Edo State Government saying activities at the ongoing National Sports Festival in Edo State will continue as planned.

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FG made its position known in a by Ramon Balogun, Assistant Director Press Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, on Thursday morning.

The statement read, “The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has clarified that the 20th National Sports Festival, Edo 2020, is going on as planned with competitions going on as scheduled.

“The Ministry and the Main Organizing Committee for the festival are unaware of any plans or threat by the Edo State Government to shut down the sports festival as there has been no official meeting or communication that relayed such information.

“The Honorable Minister, Permanent Secretary and Directors are on ground in Benin City where the Festival is holding, and it is expected that the Edo State Government would formally invite the Ministry for a meeting should any urgency exist around the National Sports Festival or communicate officially with the Main Organizing Committee for the festival. The Ministry has no such communication.

“For the records, the Edo State government due to the cost implications of postponements occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic requested financial assistance from the Federal government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.

“The Ministry has since been at work to secure the financial assistance which it believes is being processed. The MYSD and EDSG are determined to deliver a successful National Sports Festival.”