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L-R: Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki; Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare and Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu, during a courtesy visit by the minister, at Government House in Benin City, on Friday, March 19, 2021.

NSF 2020: Presidency finally wades into Edo, Sports ministry debacle

… there will no more shut down – Shaibu declares

The Presidency has weighed into the planned shutdown of the 20th National Sports Festival holding in Benin City, Edo State by committing fully into the Games.

This was made known by the Deputy governor and Chairman, Local Organising Committee (LOC), Philip Shaibu who while interacting with newsmen on Thursday said the festival will not shut down again.

It will be recalled on Wednesday, the Edo State government had threatened to shut down the Festival over the failure of the Federal Government to release funds.

But the Federal Ministry of Sports and the Main Organising Committee (MOC) of the festival had said they were unaware of any plans or threat by the Edo State Government to shut down the event.

Shortly after, the LOC declared that the MOC office was shut down till the Federal government fully commit financially to the festival. Activities have now resumed in the office.

“I want to thank the governor, the Chief of Staff to the President and the Vice President, SGF and finance minister for coming to our rescue. I can assure you know that with the level of commitment we have gotten from the federal government, the games will go on.

“We will look for how to settle our vendors till the due commitment comes in but i want to assure you that we have a stronger commitment, more so now that are already on top of the game and there wont be shutdown again,” Shaibu said.

Also, in a statement signed by the Project Manager, Media and Communication, Musa Ebomhiana, the Presidency has now shown strong commitment to supporting the Festival.

It is alleged that the Edo government has been demanding from the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development on the exact amount the Presidency intends to given them but had not gotten a positive response.

It will be noted that recently, the Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello had gifted the ministry N40m to support in the smooth running of the Festival.

The Local Organising Committee has risen from another emergency meeting to review the presidential intervention over financial crisis threatening the National Sports Festival and have agreed that the intervention is a strong and direct commitment which must be respected, honoured and taken seriously.

“We believe and respect commitments from the Presidency. We take them by their words. It’s a strong message to us that they are strongly committed to redeeming their pledge to support us for the losses suffered arising from the three postponement of the games,” the statement said.

The Festival is in its 7th day of action with Delta State leading the medals table as at the time of reporting this with 29 medals.

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