BY ISAIAH BENJAMIN, Kaduna
The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) while commending the Edo State government for solid facilities in place at the Samuel Ogbumedia Stadium, has however described the just concluded National Sports Festival (NSF) tagged Edo 2020 as the worst ever organised festival by the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development.
This formed part of the communique issued at the end of its national convention held in Benin during the Edo 2020 Games. The convention had the immediate past minister of youth and sports development, Barrister Solomon Dalung, in attendance as the special guest.
The communiqué signed by Isaiah Benjamin, Tunde Liadi and Qazeem Oladapo as chairman, secretary and member of the communiqué drafting committee and endorsed by the secretary general, Jude Opara, among other things decries poor officiating and alleged financial inducement of officials by some states.
“Commended the Government of Edo State under the leadership of Governor Godwin Obaseki for putting in place world class sporting infrastructure and calls for sustainable maintenance of the facilities.
“Decries poor officiating and alleged financial inducement of officials by some states and urges Sports Federations to ensure that it engages men of proven integrity as technical officials in future festivals; while it enlist States to prioritise sports funding rather than cutting corners.
“Notes the need for the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports to revisit the objectives of the National Sports Festival with a view to fast tracking national integration, talent discovery and sports development.
“Frowns at the participation of non-Nigerian Nationals and opening of the festival to established and foreign based athletes, thereby hindering the process of replacing aging talents, just as it sues for improved security at game venues in future.
“Notes that Sports Development is anchored on a tripod of Administration, Participation and Promotion; and therefore decries lack of tools to enhance effective media coverage during the 20th National Sports Festival, just as it knocks the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports under Mr. Sunday Dare for a clear show of disrespect for the Sports Media.
“Agrees unequivocally that apart from the provision of world class infrastructure, Edo 2020 is the worst managed National Sports Festival ever organized in the history of Nigeria.
“Commends former Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Barrister Solomon Dalung and the Association’s President, Sir Honour Sirawoo for intervening in the welfare of sports journalists that covered the festival even with personal funds.
“Vows to boycott future festivals if Sports Writers, as STAKEHOLDERS, are not properly placed in the scheme of events,” the communique read.