BY JUDE OPARA, Abuja
Apparently disappointed by the inability of host states to organize the National Sports Festival (NSF) as at when due, the federal government says it has began the process of staging the festival at a central venue in Abuja.
Minister of Youths and Sports development, Solomon Dalung revealed this in Abuja during the official opening of the Gymnastic Federation of Nigeria Open trial that the Sports Festival will now be organised permanently in Abuja to avoid the ugly scenario where the biennial championship will not hold for over six years.
Recall that the festival, has suffered several postponements, since the last edition which was hosted by Lagos state in 2012, as Cross River state, which has the next hosting right kept complaining of lack of fund and inadequate facilities to host the championship.
Dalung while applauding the new board of the Gymnastics Federation regretted that the serial failure of the states to put in place the necessary facilities and fund on ground for the hosting of the festival has contributed to the poor form of the nation’s athletes, because such has equally denied them the chance to prove their worth.
“By the grace of God we will begin the process of domesticating the National Sports Festival. We are thinking of hosting it permanently in Abuja for now. If the Festival is to unite the country through sports, then it should be domesticated at the centre of unity.
“I have decided that based on the bitter experiences and disappointments from host states, who always complain of lack of fund; we will continue to host the games here in Abuja until the time when the states will take up their responsibilities to host it as it used to be in the past, so we have taken steps to domesticate the festival”, Dalung concluded.