Cross River deputy governor, Efiok Cobham stated that the State is ready to host a memorable National Sports Festival to mark the 100 years of Nigeria as a nation.
Mr. Cobham who was speaking in Abuja during the inauguration of the 24-man Main organising Committee by by Sports Minister, Bolaji Abdullahi stated that Cross River was ready to deliver a sports fiesta that will make the entire country proud adding that it was an honour for Cross River to host the event in 2014.
“It is a coincidence as it is happening in the 100th year of our existence as a united Nigeria. So, it carries with it a lot of responsibility,” said Cobhams who vice-Chairman of the MOC Cobham, however, solicited for the co-operation of all sports stakeholders to make the festival tagged “the Paradise Games” a success.
Mr. Abdullahi in his remarks stated that the festival was now open to all Nigerians irrespective of their professional status.
“At the closing ceremony of the 18th edition of the festival in Lagos last December, I stated that the NSF was no longer fulfilling the basic objectives which necessitated its establishment in 1973.
“This development made it imperative for us to review the Objectives, Rules and Organisation of the festival.
“The outcome of the review gave rise to the establishment of the National Youth Games (NYG) and the opening up of the NSF to enable elite athletes participate in the games,” Abdullahi said.
NSC director-general, Gbenga Elegbeleye, who is also the MOC Chairman, assured that the committee would strive to surpass the achievements of the 18th edition.
He further assured that the quality of the festival would be commensurate with the standard of the elite athletes who are expected to join from now onwards.
Elegbeleye said the 2014 NSF would be unique as it would also mark the 100 years of the amalgamation of Nigeria.
“The MOC will work closely with the LOC of the festival to make sure it is an important segment of the country’s centenary celebrations.
“I have no doubt that Calabar is one of the best host cities in the country today, looking at what the government of Cross River has been doing to Nigerian sports.