The 20th edition of the Nigerian National Sports Festival has been rescheduled once again to take place between February 14 and 18 in Benin City, Edo State. This was the result of the virtual meeting of the Extraordinary Sports Council that was held on Tuesday.
The Sports Minister and President of the Council, Sunday Dare; and Edo State Deputy Governor and Local Organizing Committee Chairman Philip Shaibu agreed on the new date in lieu of the disputes that followed the January 3-18, 2021 previously proposed by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 .
Shaibu was reported to have expressed displeasure at the way PTF handled the previous rescheduling of the festival for early January without taking into account that both athletes and officials would have returned from the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
In view of the many postponements suffered by the festival and the enormous costs that the host state has spent in preparing its facilities for the event, Shaibu pleaded with the sports minister to help justify financial support for the Edo state government.
The Edo Lieutenant Governor also called for the aid package to also be extended to states whose athletes have repeatedly camped to participate in Edo 2020.
The Sports Council meeting also agreed that adequate awareness be established so that all athletes and officials are aware of the prevalence of Covid-19 and observe all necessary protocols to avoid becoming infected.
The XX National Sports Festival has suffered a series of postponements and it is likely that the last dates will also suffer a similar fate given the recent increase in Covid-19 cases in the country. There are even fears of a new lockdown in some states.
Sources close to the LOC president’s office revealed that the host, Edo State, was considering the possibility of the festival taking place in April next year.