According to a report by The PUNCH, the federal says activities at the continued National Sports Festival in Edo State will continue as planned.
This is against the sooner announcement by the Local Organising Committee that the festival will end abruptly 12noon on Thursday (today) over lack of fund.
FG made its position known during 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, goes on as planned with competitions happening as scheduled.
“The Ministry and therefore the Main Organizing Committee for the festival are unaware of any plans or threat by the Edo government to pack up 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’s expected that the Edo government would formally invite the Ministry for a gathering should any urgency exist round the National Sports Festival or communicate officially with the most Organizing Committee for the festival. The Ministry has no such communication.
“For the records, the Edo government thanks to the value implications of postponements occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic requested financial assistance from the federal 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.”
Earlier, the Coordinator of Media and Publicity, National Sports Festival, Ebomhiana Musa, during a statement on Wednesday night, said a choice to finish the competition was taken taken at an emergency meeting of the Local Organising Committee headed by
Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu.
He said, “The Local Organising Committee, Edo2020 regrets to announce that it’ll end the games abruptly tomorrow, Thursday, April 8, 2021, for lack of funds.
“Rising from an emergency meeting tonight, the LOC says it’s to require this difficult decision thanks to lack of funds having expended its reserves to kick starter the games.
“Regrettably, the FG is yet to redeem its pledge to support us because the host state financially for the value of postponements. So, we are left with no option but to finish the games at noon tomorrow.”
The development is coming despite the postponement of the festival on several occasions.
No fewer than 8,000 athletes from different states of the federation are participating in the festival.
Edo State had raised the alarm over the Federal Government’s failure to supply funds 24 hours to the commencement of the festival.