The 20th Edition of the National Sports Festival, Edo 2020 has now been scheduled for October 25 through to November 4, 2020.
The new date which has been arrived at after the festival had suffered an initial postponement in March this year due to the outbreak of the Corona Virus Pandemic worldwide, was announced by the presidential committee set up by the federal government to see to the hosting of the biennial event which is aimed at discovering and nurturing of local talents to represent Nigeria in regional and international sporting events.
It will be recalled that despite divergent views by members of the National Council of Sports as to the possibility of the National Sports Festival holding this year 2020, the Honorable Minister of Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare went on to inaugurate an 11-man committee to inspect all health facilities for the festival in Edo State so as to ascertain the readiness of the state in hosting the sports festival even in the midst of the Covid-19 debacle.
The committee, made up of members of the Covid-19 Task Force, NCDC, Commissioners of Sports from the six geo-political zones of the country and representatives of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development after a 3-day tour of the state, addressed the press on democracy day and expressed satisfaction at the situation on ground in the state before going ahead to announce the new tentative date for the hosting of the festival.
"We have seen the facilities on ground in the state. We have been to the state specialist hospitals, the University of Benin Teaching Hospitals, the testing centres, the screening centres and the isolation centres. We have been briefed on the ones to be improved upon and the steps the state is taking. We are no doubt impressed and convinced that Edo State is ready to host the National Sports Festival this year 2020" Tonobok Okowa, the Chairman of the presidential committee declared
"After an exhaustive deliberation with the Edo Team, we have concluded that the Games Village can open on October 22nd while the Opening Ceremony can hold on October 25. The closing ceremony should hold on November 4. I must however add that this is only the recommendation of the committee. The ratification must come from the presidency through the Sports Ministry but as regards the limit of our responsibility, this is our submission", Tonobok Okowa, who is also the Delta State Sports Commission Chairman, clarified.
The National Sports Festival, Edo 2020 was initially billed for March 22 through to April 1st 2020 but had to be postponed due to the outbreak of the Corona Virus all over the world.
Going by the latest development which is also subject to ratification by the presidency, the new date for the games has now been fixed for October 25 through to November 4, 2020.
- Wole Opatola.