By Salifu Usman, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has described the National Sports Festival as one of the veritable tools that unite Nigerians and avenue for discovering talents that will represent the country in the global sporting arena.
He made the pronouncement while declaring open the 20th edition of the biannual games tagged ‘Edo 2020 Games’ at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin yesterday.
The President who was represented by the minister of youth and sports development, Chief Sunday Dare, commended the doggedness of Edo State government in hosting the festival despite the numerous challenges of the postponement of the games which occurred a year ago due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
“The 20th National Sports Festival was due to have taken place a year ago but due to the outbreak of COVID-19 it suffered several postponements. However due to the determination of President Muhammadu Buhari in ensuring that the youth are engaged productively through sports and also to the doggedness of Edo state government to host the festival and the commitment of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development we are glad today that we are finally having the festival. It is indeed a befitting festival.
“To thousands of our young athletes, let me commend your straight forward performance and faith in the government to make this happen.
Indeed, the sports festival rightly dogged as Nigerian Olympics shows that showcases Nigeria’s best talents in over 32 different sporting events.
“The richness of this festival is that it engages our youth and deserves a paramount place in the priority of any government. The national sports Festival as you all know still remains one of the veritable tools for uniting our country and as well as bringing our young men and women to interact, make friends, compete and also provide avenues for discovering talents for various sports that will represent the country in the global sporting arena.
“I must therefore thank the government and people of Edo State for keeping their promise of hosting the festival despite the numerous challenges caused by the postponement which occurred almost a year ago,” Dare said.