The National Sports Festival has been rescheduled for December 6th to 16th 2018 in Abuja, aclsports.com gathered. The National Council of Sports last month said that the 19th National Sports Festival will hold in November, but it has now been moved to the end of the year.
The Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung, inaugurated a 13-man Main Organising Committee (MOC) for the 2018 National Sports Festival (NSF), billed for November in Abuja last March.
Inaugurating the committee in Abuja, Dalung said the event marked the beginning of another page in the history of the festival and sports development in Nigeria.
The National Council on Sports had in their meeting, held in February, withdrawn the hosting right of the 19th edition from Cross River.
The withdrawal was due to the failure of the state to host the festival six years after it was granted hosting rights. According to the Minister, the inauguration of the committee is evidence that the Federal Government has heard the call of the National Council on Sports.
“We have promptly put together the MOC to give direction and set the tone for the organisation of the 2018 NSF.
“I wish to put on record that this is not the first time the Federal Government will be hosting the festival, the first and second edition of the festival were hosted by the Federal Government in Lagos in 1973 and 1975.
Dalung said that he was confident that with the collaboration of the Federal Capital Authority and the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports, organising the festival would not be insurmountable.
Dalung told the committee to package a festival that would not only be attractive to sponsors but that measure up to other international sporting events.
Responding on behalf of the committee members, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Olusade Adesola, promised to work with relevant organisations to deliver a successful NSF.
Meanwhile, the Cross River State government said it has suffered a loss of over 8 billion naira following the withdrawal of the hosting rights of the 19th National Sports Festival by the Federal Government.
He said the losses are as a result of several abandoned projects by contractors, unverified bill, budgeted and unbudgeted expenses on events and materials and publicity and others.
Speaking with journalists in Calabar, the Chairman of Cross River State Sports Commission, Otuekong Orok Duke said: “The process of bidding for the now withdrawn rights started with the government of Donald Duke and finally came to fruition in regime of Governor Liyel Imoke. Unfortunately, after the expenditure of up to 8 billion naira, nothing happened.