The Federal Government is poised to assist the Edo Government financially in hosting the 20th National Sports Festival scheduled to hold in the ancient city of Benin.
This was made known by the minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare while speaking on the sidelines at the just concluded 2021 Admiral Porbeni Boat Race on Saturday in Abuja.
It will be noted that the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki recently announced that though the state is ready, it is not financially buoyant to host the over 11,000 athletes expected to hit the state for the sports festival.
Edo State government said “COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the finances of various states and countries across the globe and Edo State is not left out.
“If the Federal Government, however, in its wisdom, decides to provide funding for the Games, we will be too willing to host the country.
“Cancelling the game is not the solution to this issue. Beyond the game itself, there is the Tokyo Olympics to consider. We have to sit down and look at all these issues critically before reaching a final decision.”
However, Dare has said the federal government will support the state as the ministry awaits the approval for the support.
“Yes they are ready to host and they have worked together with the ministry of youth and sports to get to where they are at this point. We are dealing with COVID-19 protocols, sporting infrastructure, health issues and provisions.
“When they are postponement like this, there will be cost implications and we have some postponement. Edo state has realized that there have been implications and just had an election. They have spoken to the ministry that they will need financial support which has not come from the federal government.
“The ministry has put up that case and it takes a process. We are sure we will get approval for that support. We are committed to the Nigerian youths who are the major participants and beneficiaries of this national sports festival,” he said.
The Sports Festival was called off three days to its commencement date in March 2020 due to outbreak of Coronavirus.
The new date of December 2020, which was later shifted to January 3, 2021, could not see the light of day. It has been slated to hold from February 14 to 28.