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Edo 2020: Sports Ministry assures on funding, says National Sports Festival will continue as planned

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By Peterson Ibi/Benin

Contrary to threat by the local organizing committee of the of the ongoing 20th National Sports Festival, Edo 2020, to bring it to an abrupt close, the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, has said that the sports fiesta will go on as planned.

The local organizing committee of the sports festival, had late Wednesday night threatened to bring the competition to an end, following failure by the federal government to redeem its pledge for funds.

It would be recalled that the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, had complained that the state was broke, having expended its meager resources to managing the Coronavirus pandemic.

But the federal minister of youth and sports development, Sunday Dare, assured that the federal government will release fund to the host state, to host the sports fiesta tagged Edo 2020.

The main organizing committee of the event in a statement on Thursday, said it was not aware of plans or threat by Edo to shut down the festival.

The statement, signed by the assistant director press of the ministry, Ramon Balogun, noted the the Minister of Youth and Sport Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, the Permanent Secretary and directors of the ministry are all on ground in Benin, venue of the festival.

Read the full text of the statement:

“The Ministry and the Main Organizing Committee (MOC) for the festival are unaware of any plans or threat by the Edo State Government to shut down the sports festival as there has been no official meeting or communication that relayed such information.

“The Honorable Minister, Permanent Secretary and Directors are on ground in Benin City where the Festival is holding, and it is expected that the Edo State Government would formally invite the Ministry for a meeting should any urgency exist around the National Sports Festival or communicate officially with the Main Organizing Committee (MOC) for the festival. The Ministry has no such communication.

“For the records, the Edo State government due to the cost implications of postponements occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic requested financial assistance from the Federal government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.

“The Ministry has since been at work to secure the financial assistance which it believes is being processed. The MYSD and EDSG are determined to deliver a successful National Sports Festival.”