FG, Edo propose April 8-22 festival date

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’Tana Aiyejina

The Federal Government and the Edo State Government have made a joint proposal for the National Sports Festival tagged Edo 2020 to be held from either April 8 to 22 or April 10 to 22 in Benin City, the Edo State capital, The PUNCH reports.

The festival, which was first scheduled for March 22 to April 2, 2020 has suffered postponements thrice, and is now billed to hold in April after it was shifted from February 14 to 28 on Monday, at the National Council on Sports meeting held via Zoom.

Our correspondent scooped exclusively that the proposal was made at the NCS emergency meeting, which was convened by the sports minister, Sunday Dare, who also doubles as the chairman of the council.

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In attendance were state sports commissioners, Directors of Sports, permanent secretaries and the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu.

The decision for both dates was reached in order to ensure that the festival did not clash with academic activities at the University of Benin, one of the designated venues of the event, our correspondent gathered.

A sports commissioner from one of the South-South states, who attended the meeting, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the proposal was jointly made by the FG, Edo State Government and the NCS members.

“Both the FG, represented by the sports ministry and Edo State, as well as everyone present at the NCS meeting agreed that the festival should hold in April. We also proposed two dates: April 8 to 22 and April 10 to 22 for the festival to be held,”our source said.

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“This is in view of the fact that UNIBEN students will go on vacation for one week from April 7 to 14. But we are meeting soon with the Ministry of Education and the university’s authorities to see how the vacation period can be extended so that we can use the facilities at the school for the period we proposed.

“However, if that doesn’t work, we have plans for alternative accommodation for the festival to still hold between the proposed dates. That is why we didn’t rush to announce a definite date. The sports minister is working very hard to ensure that the event holds because it will put our athletes in top shape ahead of preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. And I can tell you, it will hold in either of the proposed dates, the FG will release funds, thanks to the efforts of the minister.”

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