Sports

Crisis hits National Sports Festival as Edo shuts MOC office

…host state insists on FG’s support
It’ll come, Ministry assures

Uncertainty continues to hover arround the 20th National Sports Festival currently ongoing in Benin, the Edo State after the government threatened to put an end to the Games after five days of hostilities. The state had sent a release late on Wednesday, that the games would be ended abruptly on Thursday with the Ministry of Youth and Sports sending a counter release.

“The Local Organising Committee, Edo2020 regrets to announce that it will end the games abruptly tomorrow, Thursday, April 8, 2021 for lack of funds,” the statement signed by the Project Manager, Media & Communications, Edo 2020, Ebomhiana Musa, read. “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 than to end the games ” In a counter statement, the ministry clarified that the 20th National Sports Festival, Edo 2020, is going on as scheduled .

Ministry insisted the festival money was being processed and will be released.. It was however another twist to the whole situation when the Edo State deputy governor, Philip Shaibu, addressed the media at the Media entre at the Sam Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin. The Deputy governor said: “We may be shutting down the 20th National Sports Festival and not because the state is not ready or because the facilities are not here as you can see for yourself that we have the facilities and all of them are in good shape. “For us, it is the love for the nation and our support on the synergy that we are with the federal government that led to the continuation of the festival. We had no doubt to the FG on its part to fund the sports festival after much postponements which was orchestrated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the instance of the Federal Government.

Even the honourable minister attested to that fact that such a situation will go with a cost. “We’ve gotten full commitment from the minister who is the spokesperson as far as the sporting activity is concerne with the commitment of the federal government to fund. “As a result of the trust that we have, we had to look for sponsors that were not available, we had to get our vendors to commit their personal and company resources with the commitment that we get these funds from the deferral government as promised, we will pay for the services they had provided.

“It took the grace of God on Wednesday for the caterers not to shut down. Other vendors are threatening to shut down and hence LOC has no choice after our midnight meeting to shut down the 20th National Sports Festival if we don’t get the full commitment from the Federal Government by noon tomorrow (Friday).”

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