By Salifu Usman, Abuja
The 9000 athletes and officials competing for medals at the ongoing 20th National Sports Festival tagged ‘Edo 2020 Games’, as well as the artisans and food vendors, can now breathe a sigh of relief as the Presidency, minister of youth and sports development, Chief Sunday Dare, and the Edo State governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki have resolved all the contentious issues for the Games to continue Uninterrupted.
Speaking in Benin on Thursday, permanent secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Nebeolisa Anako, said the Presidency has assured the host state government that the process of getting the financial assistant promised them is at the final stages.
“The purpose of this briefing is to further clarify the recent development. Since Sunday, the minister of Youth and sports development, Chief Sunday Dare, has been on ground in Benin to ensure a successful Games.
“I, as the permanent secretary and chairman of the Main Organising Committee (MOC) for the Games have been meeting with LOC headed by the deputy governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu for the success of the Games.
This morning, the minister met with His Excellency, the governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, on the news that the host state wants to shut down the Games and fully brief him on the development. The Presidency also called and spoke with the Governor to confirm that the process of getting the financial assistant done is at the final stages,” Anako said.
He urged the athletes and participating officials to disregard the news of halting the Games despite saying that he is not sure when the financial assistant will deliver to the host state.
“However, I want to put on record that the Ministry is yet to receive a letter from the necessary quarters on when the federal government is ready to offer the host state assistant but we believe shortly we will get that and once we get it we will convey it to the state government.
“As the account officer of the Ministry if there was any fund release by the federal government for assistant to the Edo State government I should know. So far, noon has been released but with today’s development and assurance from the Presidency you can take it to the bank that there will be a financial assistant to the state government.
“Even though it is the duty of the host state to finance the games but on the account of earlier postponements, the assistant will be delivered. The MOC and LOC will meet for further follow up on this development. The issue of stopping the games should be disregarded following the intervention of the minister and presidency to assure the state that they are not left alone.”