President Muhammadu Buhari has described the long awaited 20th National Sport Festival (NSF) as the biggest Sports fiesta in the country, where both professionals and home base athletes converge to display their prowess as a veritable tool for peace, unity and progress of our great country, adding that it is also an avenue to discover talents for various sports that will represent the country in the global arena.
The President who was represented by the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sport Development, Chief Sunday Dare stated this during the opening ceremony of the 20th National Sports Festival “Edo 2020”, at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, Edo State, on Tuesday, 6th April, 2021.
He said that “Although, the 20th National Sports Festival was supposed to have taken place one year ago, but due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, it suffered several postponements. However, with the determination of His Excellency, President, Muhammadu Buhari in ensuring that the youth are engaged productively through sports, the doggedness of Edo state Government to host the Festival and the unwavering commitment of the Ministry of Youth and Sports-today, we are here not to just have the festival, but a befitting festival.”
Buttressing its importance to national development and growth, the Hon. Minister said: “Indeed, this sports festival rightly dubbed Nigeria’s Olympics showcases Nigeria’s best talents in over 30 different sporting events, By the sheer population of the participants, historically about 14 thousand, the reach and how it engages our Youth- the NSF deserves a primus place in the priority list of any government. The National Sports Festival as we all know, still remains one of the veritable tools for uniting the country, as well as bringing the young men and women to interact and make friends…”
Chief Dare further described the sports festival, initiated by the founding father in 1973 as Nigeria’s Olympics which show cases Nigeria’s best talents in over 30 different sporting events, stressing that the 20th NSF promises to thrill and produce talents, expose stars and a new tribe of world beaters and great athletes.
The Minister commended the Government and people of Edo state for keeping faith to their promise of hosting the festival despite the numerous challenges by the first postponement precisely a year ago, in consonance with the aspirations of the founding fathers such as General Yakubu Gowon, Late Major General Henry Adefope, Late Brigadier General Samuel Ogbemudia etc, who initiated and brought this great event to limelight.
He thanked the 36 State Governors and the FCT Minister for bearing the pains of postponement and the support accorded their various contingents to participate in the 20th National Sports Festival despite the global challenge of COVID-19 pandemic.
In his address, the Chief Host and the Executive Governor of Edo State, His Excellency, Godwin Obaseki welcomed athletes and participants to the 20th edition of the National Sports Festival; and to the historic city of Benin. He said “NSF suffered several postponements due to the destruction caused by corona virus; we are holding the games festival today is a testament to the indomitable Nigeria spirit and our determination to rise above onions challenges that threaten our unity and survival.”
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Deputy Governor of Edo state and the Chairman of Local Organising Committee (LOC), Comrade Philip Shuaibu, welcomed participants and athletes to NSF and enjoined them to take advantage of Edo special cuisines and culture of the people while in Benin.
The 20th NSF is holding at various sporting facilities/centres in Benin City with over 30 games and scheduled for between the 4th to 14th April, 2021.
For: Director, Press