Hosts of the 2020 National Sports Festival is to evolve a State Sports Commission that will swallow the current State Sports Council after the National Sports Festival coming up in Benin next Month.
President Muhammadu Buhari is to formally declare open the festival on the 22ndof March while the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osibanjo will close the fiesta on 1st April. Edo last hosted the festival 19 years ago and it was tagged Bendel 81.
Deputy Governor of Edo State, Comrade Philip Shaibu told the Sports Parliament, an NTA Network programmed anchored by its Speaker, former Green Eagles Captain, Mr. Patrick Olusegun Odegbami that the Sports Commission has already started with a 20 mini-Stadia built inside secondary schools spread across the state that will have athletics tracks and other sporting facilities.
Comrade Shaibu said Edo was the production room of great sports men and women and the purpose of the Stadia is to combine academics with sports and bring up more Nigerian Socrates, the Medical Doctor and captain of the Brazilian senior National football team who went back to his medical practice after retiring from playing football.
He told the Sports Parliamentarians that 39 events will be competed for at the Benin Games; with over 11,500 athletes; 3,000 volunteers 1,200 of them to handle security; all sporting venues will be ICT compliant sending reports to the Media center while the main venue, the Ogbemudia Stadium has a new Tartan track verified by African Queen of the tracks, Mary Onyali herself.
He hinted that the new sporting facilities to be built under his watch by the Edo State Government will be handled by the private sectors adding that the rot he saw while looking into the Sports Council was endemic but the government will build a Sports Commission that will be devoid of the civil service mentality that is sluggish. “The Council needs a thorough cleansing and sanitization”, he added.
The Parliamentarians fired many salvos of questions at him including why the football match bet
ween the Super Eagles and Sierra Leone was disallowed for Ogbemudia Stadium and he simply explained that the new grass pitch stadium would take the next Super Eagles home match because the timing will disturb athletes at the games.
The Parliamentarians pleaded with the Comrade who is overseeing the National Festival that mercenaries and double registration of competitors is disallowed as that has been the challenges of past sports festivals and Comrade Shaibu said on his honor that will not be allowed in the games.
He also moved a motion that the edition of the Sports Parliament before the Sports Festival be transmitted live from NTA Benin to test run signals and report extent of readiness to host the games asking all Sports Parliamentarians to come and see Edo wonders but the Speaker, Chief Segun Odegbami said the Director General of the Nigerian Television was monitoring the event live and would handle his request.
Daily sports Commentaries on major sporting events will be run live from Benin the Deputy Governor revealed but this reporter recalls that he was part of the Radio Organizations of Nigeria (RON) anchored by Radio Nigeria under the late Earnest Okonkwo and other veteran Commentators from various centers in Benin at the Edo 81 Games.
- By Eniola Olatunji.