Following the postponement of the 20th edition of the National Sports Festival, some key stakeholders have expressed divergent views on the impact of the postponement on the states and their athletes.
On Monday, the minister of sports, Sunday Dare announced the postponement of the biennial sports festival after the virtual meeting held by the Extra- Ordinary National Council on Sports (NCS) and other relevant stakeholders.
- Buhari orders arrest, prosecution of illegal arms bearers
- The next glorious 50 years of China-Nigeria relations
It will be recalled that the festival was rescheduled to commence on February 14 before the latest postponement.
The minister also announced that the sports festival will now hold in April but no definite date was given.
In his reaction, the Kogi State director of sports, Sunday Daku expressed his disappointment over the postponement as he said the athletes will remain jobless and may get involved in criminal or negative activities.
“It is unfortunate that the sports festival can’t hold. Why are they telling us there are no more funds? Is that enough reason to postpone the festival? It is political as we are not happy.
“The youths form the bulk of the population we have in this country and so many are jobless now and may be involved in social vices.
“It is the festival that will provide allowances and salaries to these athletes. For example, in Kogi, we don’t have athletes on our payroll but they survive through sports.
“If schools, churches, mosques are on, why not the sports festival which has even been staggered into two phases where some athletes will come and go and other sets will come in,” he said.
His counterpart from Ekiti State, Egbeleye Isaac, however, believes the postponement is a blessing in disguise for his state as it will provide them the opportunity to prepare better ahead of the festival in April.
“All the states had prepared for the festival and as you are preparing, you are spending money. Even the money allocated by each state has been spent already since last year. The postponement is a blessing to some states as they will go back and discuss with their governors to get more funds and prepare more and better.
“The festival must hold as it will enable us to prepare for the Olympics. Like I said before, the postponement is good for us in Ekiti as we will go back and train more,” he said.