ABEOKUTA – Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has indicated the state readiness to host the 22nd edition of the National Sports Festival (NSF) in 2024.
In a statement yesterday by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, Abiodun said this when the 22nd National Sports Festival Evaluation Committee visited him in his office on Friday.
Abiodun, who expressed conviction that no other state can beat Ogun in its plans to host the festival after almost 16 years it hosted it, said the state is one of the most peaceful in the country.
He urged the committee to make security, a peaceful atmosphere, and the well-being of the athletes the most important consideration above others.
“Our state is the Gateway State and I do not think that any other state can compete and defeat us in the bidding for this National Sports Festival.
“So, on behalf of my team, I want to assure you that we will be ready to host this sports festival. I want to thank the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare. And I have told him we are hosting this festival; we are ready for it.
“I think for a festival like this, one of your topmost considerations should be a venue where you can guarantee the safety of the athletes and also the visitors. I think that consideration ranks higher than any other consideration, it has to be number one and once you take that on your checklist, you can begin to look at other areas.
“I beat my chest and proudly say that Ogun State is one of the most peaceful states in the country, if not the most peaceful state in the country and I think that is a very serious consideration and we will continue to do everything to sustain that role as one of the most peaceful states in the country,” he said.
The governor, who added that his administration sees the development of the sports sector as very important as it helps to instill discipline, and leadership skills and also helps the youths to stay clear of social vices, said that hosting the festival is fundamental to the social economic development of the state.
“We see the sport sector as a sector that we must promote because sport itself instills discipline in our youths. If you are preparing for any sporting activity, you are required to be disciplined, you have to wake up at a certain time to train, you have to develop interpersonal skills, once you are subjected to those kind of rigorous training exercises, you are less likely to engage in vices because you won’t have time,” he noted.
In his remarks, the leader of the 22nd National Sport Festival Evaluation Committee and Director, National Sport Festival/Para Sport Department, Ministry of Youths and Sports; Peter Nelson, who commended the state in its interest to host the 2024 festival, adding that the state can beat its record of being the only state to have hosted and made a huge profit, if it gets the nod to host the event.
“I hope and pray that when we go for the inspection, the things that we see in sight will be impressive that I think we should be able to give Ogun State another chance to host like we did to Edo sometimes ago and also Lagos.
“I am so sure that if they put things in place, there is no doubt in my mind that Ogun State should be able to repeat what they did in 2006 as the only state that ever hosted sports festival and made profit. This time around, I expect that it should be much better and I am expecting that the preparation should be much better than what we saw the last time,” he said.
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