The certainty of the 2020 National Sports Festival holding in Benin City this year depends on the Ministry of Health and the National Task Force on Covid-19 because they hold sway on the Coronavirus pandemic.
Sports Minister, Sunday Dare who said this at a virtual meeting of stake holders in Nigerian Sports also added that he believes the Festival can go ahead if certain measures were put in place.
“After more than two months of uncertainty, we need to chart a new course for our sports just like is been done globally. Our final decision will be based on consultations with the Ministry of Health and the National Task Force on Covid-19.”
On his part, the Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee Comrade Philip Shuaibu said,”We are ready to host the Festival, but other states may not be ready. The issue of health is something that we all take seriously. Isolation centers have been further expanded to bigger capacity. We have set up many testing centers that would screen athletes before and after games.
In his view, a representative of the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Sports, Mr. Paul Bassey said” A health committee should be set up to work with the NCCD and the Ministry of Health to determine the possibility of the Festival taking place”.
At the end of the meeting, there was no certainty on when the Festival will hold, while some members said it should hold before the Edo State election, others said it should be held after the election.
Those selected to plan further on the festival are Commissioners of Sports from the six geo-political zones; Covid-19 Task Force rep; the NCDC rep; Rep of the Sports Ministry and rep of the LOC.
The National Sports Festival tagged EDO 2020 was earlier scheduled for march 22 to 1st April 2020.
- Eniola Olatunji.