The battle of wits between the Edo State Government and the Federal Government over the ongoing 20th National Sports Festival, tagged Edo 2020, holding in Benin City, Edo State capital, continued on Thursday as the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, MYSD, said that the sports fiesta continues as scheduled.
The Federal Government’s stance runs contrary to the decision taken late Wednesday night by the Local Organising Committee, LOC, headed by Philip Shaibu, Deputy Governor, Edo State, that the Festival would be shut down mid-day today because the had reneged on its promise to reimburse the state government for the several postponements of the fiesta dues to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic.
But in a statement issued by the ministry early this morning and titled “National Sports Festival in Benin Continues”, the Federal Ministry insisted that it had not received any communication from the host state regarding the shutdown of the fiesta.
The ministry, however, in the statement signed by Ramon Balogun Assistant Director Press Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, admitted that though it received a request for financial assistance from the Edo State Government and such was being processed, ” 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 full text of the statement reads:
“The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has clarified that the 20th National Sports Festival, Edo 2020, is going on as planned with competitions going on as scheduled.
“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”.
The fiesta started on April 2 but was officially declared open on April 6 and is expected to run till April 14.
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