The Edo government, host of Benin’s 20th National Sports Festival (NSF), will close the 13-day event at 12 noon on Thursday, an official said Wednesday evening.
Musa Ebomhiana, Project Manager of the Festival’s Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Media and Communications Subcommittee, said the decision was necessary because of the Federal Government’s refusal to fulfill a promise.
He said that the federal government did not support the state with the funds promised, and that the state government had no choice but to shut down the festival.
The decision was made after an emergency meeting of the festival’s Local Organizing Committee (LOC) led by Edo Lieutenant Governor Philip Shaibu.
“You can quote me, we have just finished an emergency meeting of the LOC, and while I am talking with you we have decided to close the festival at 12 noon tomorrow (Thursday).
“The decision was reached because the Federal Government has failed to fulfill its promise to help the state with funds.
“That’s why we closed the festival,” Ebomhiana said.
However, he did not reveal how the LOC was going to close the festival.
Our correspondent was unable to get the reaction from the festival organizers, the Main Organizing Committee (MOC), to this development at the time of this report.
Nor was he able to get the reaction of the festival’s owners, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
However, John Joshua-Akanji, Assistant Sports and Youth Development Minister Sunday Dare, immediately responded that he was contacted.
The minister’s special media assistant urged the NAN to contact MOC Secretary Peter Nelson, who, however, could not be reached.
Memory that Edo had requested financial support from the Federal Government to host the other states of the federation and the FCT.
His demand had depended on the inconveniences caused by the various postponements of the festival, which was previously billed for March 2020.
The postponements were due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The rescheduled festival had started on April 2 to last until April 14, and if it closed on Thursday, it would be on its seventh day.