LOMENJE: The sports festival continues, FG opposes the Edo government

The federal government says activities at the ongoing National Sports Festival in the state of Edo will continue as planned.

This contradicts the earlier announcement of the Local Organizing Committee that the festival will end abruptly on Thursday (today) at 12 o’clock due to lack of funds.

FG announced its position in Ramon Balogun, Assistant Director of the Press
Ministry of Youth and Sports, Thursday morning.

The statement read: “The Ministry of Youth and Development of Sports has clarified that the 20th National Sports Festival, Edo 2020, is going as planned, and the competitions are going according to schedule.

“The Ministry and the Main Organizing Committee for the festival are not aware of any plans or threats by the Edo government to shut down the sports festival, because there was no official meeting or communication that conveyed such information.

“The Honorary Minister, Permanent Secretary and Directors are on the ground in Benin City where the Festival is being held, and the Edo government is expected to officially invite the Ministry to a meeting if there is urgency around the National Sports Festival or officially communicate with the Main Organizing Committee. The Ministry does not have such communication.

“For records, the Edo state government has requested financial assistance from the federal government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports due to the cost implications of the delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Since then, the ministry has been working on providing financial assistance that it believes is being processed. MYSD and EDSG are determined to provide a successful National Sports Festival. “

Earlier, the media and public relations coordinator, the National Sports Festival, Ebomhiana Musa, said in a statement Wednesday night that the decision to suspend the competition was made at an emergency meeting of the Local Organizing Committee headed by
Deputy Governor of Edo, Philip Shaibu.

He said, “The Local Organizing Committee, Edo2020 regrets announcing that it will abruptly suspend games tomorrow, Thursday, April 8, 2021, due to lack of funds.

“Leaving the emergency meeting tonight, the LOC says that it must make this difficult decision due to the lack of funds that have spent their reserves to start the matches.

“Unfortunately, FG has yet to redeem its conspiracy to financially support us for the price of delay. So, we have no choice but to stop the games tomorrow at noon. ”

The development comes despite the postponement of the festival on several occasions.

Less than 8,000 athletes from different countries of the federation are participating in the festival.

Edo State has raised the alarm over the Federal Government’s failure to secure funding 24 hours before the festival begins.