By Salifu Usman, Abuja
Facts have emerged as to why the minister of youth and sports development, Chief Sunday Dare, stayed away from the closing ceremony of the Edo 2020 National Sports Festival which ended on Wednesday.
A source at the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development revealed that the Minister decided to cancel his appearance at the closing ceremony due to the antics and hostile attitude of chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and deputy governor of Edo State, Comrade Philip Shaibu.
Recall that last Wednesday, April 7, 2021, the confrontation between the host state and federal government over the non-released of intervention funds for the Games got to the peak with the threat by the Edo State government to shut down the Festival, throwing out staff of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development from the Main Organizing Committee (MOC) Secretariat at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.
Though later resolved, the Ministry source maintained the LOC chairman continued to heat up the place demanding money from the federal government.
“What the Edo State government presented to the Ministry was a plea for assistance, which it promised to consider. What the Federal Government promised to consider was not a pledge, neither a loan as no agreement was ever signed.
“However, the Deputy Governor had gone about it in a combative manner, misinforming people that the federal government is owing the Edo State government.
“The financial support Edo State wanted was nowhere in the budget. Only presidential special funds could be made available for it. Not even the Minister of Finance can just yank off such financial support without due process and necessary approvals. Government rules are very clear.
“so, I’m at a loss what Edo State wanted the Minister to do. Force the FG to find the money by all means or take money from his budget and give it to Edo which is not possible,” the ministry source lamented.