The Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung today unveiled the logo and mascot to signal the return of the National Sports Festival.
The Festival which started in 1973 with Lagos as the first host city had been held 18 times till its abrupt end in 2012 in Lagos.
During his submission, Dalung said that the sports ministry had signed a ten year partnership agreement with Greenfield Asset Ltd with a Special Purpose Vehicle known as ‘National Sports Festival Marketing and Management Company Limited’ being set up to drive the process.
“The sports ministry has entered partnerships agreements to Greenfield Assets Ltd to deliver the next 5 editions of the National Sports Festival for the ten years”
“As part of the rebranding and packing of the Games, a permanent logo which will serve as the identity of the festival has been designed and approved “
Dalung recalled that hosting rights of the Games which Calabar won was postponed several times occasioned by series of challenges.
However, in the bid to halt the retrogression witnessed in the Sports sector, the Federal Government decided to take over the organisation of the Games with Abuja as the host city.
The Minister of Federal Capital Territory Alhaji Muhammad Bello who was represented by the Permanent Secretary Mr Christian Oha said that the ministry will assist the local organizing committee to ensure adequate logistics and security ahead of the games.
He further said the mascot descripts the Gate of the Federal Capital Territory, which grants access to all Nigerians and foreigners.
According to him, it symbolises the unity, an inalienable identity of Abuja that known for peace and unity.
While throwing his support behind the Games, the minister also revealed that schools will vacate in the first week of December to allow for a full participation by residents.
Earlier the Group Managing Director of Greenfield Assets Dr Paul Obanua opined that his organizational are doing everything human possible to host a successful national sports festival in line with international best practices.
He acknowledged that proper branding, marketing and media hype is key to developing sports in Nigeria in comparison to the English Premier League.
The 19th edition of the National sport festival tagged “ABUJA 2018, “World Series Edition is scheduled to run from December 6th to 16th 2018 at the Abuja National stadium which is aimed at identifying talents for further development, the provision of opportunities for hosting states to acquire and upgrade sports facilities and infrastructure and most importantly foster national unity, using sports as a platform for socio-cultural integration.
The Festival which will kick off with a number of pre-festival events that will exploit the cultural fusion Nigeria is known for will welcome over 12,500 home based athletes from the 36 states including FCT vying for national honours in 37 different sporting events.