By Ben Efe
Political campaigns for the various elective posts at Federal and State levels have put the National Sports Festival in a deep freeze.
Following the heated race for office by the parties concerned, it is clear that the April 9-19 date fixed for the Sports Festival after it was shifted from November 23 – December 3, 2014 will not be feasible. Calabar, Cross River State the host of the 13th edition of the National Sports Festival is not ready with their facilities and also there was no guarantee of funds from the Sports Ministry, the promoters of the event.
It was the reason for the postponement in the first instance, but the complicated political process has left room for doubt if the sports festival will ever hold this year.
However, it was gathered that the Sports Minister, Tammy Danagogo will meet with concerned stakeholders and also the directors of sports from the States today, to work out modality for a new date probably in May after the elections might have been held.
“We are obviously not going to have the Festival in April. The atmosphere is not just there for it.
“But there might be a new date after the Minister meets with all the directors of sports. If a new date is fixed, the festival will be held whether the facilities in Calabar are ready or not,” said a sports ministry official yesterday.
Lagos hosted the last edition in 2012. Sports enthusiasts, looked forward to the next edition in Calabar a city that has become a destination for sports and tourism. However, the State is struggling to meet up with financial obligations as necessitated by the dwindling fiscal fortunes of government at all levels.
Most of the states are not even preparing their athletes for the festival.
“Noting is happening in the states. They cannot even pay their salaries talk-less of funding sports at the moment,” said the official.