Edo 2020 Sports Festival committee to submit report in 30 days, says Okowa
• Dare urges body to deliver report on time
The 11-man committee set up by the Sports Ministry to look at a new possible date for the Edo 2020 National Sports Festival within the year has commenced its operations.
The festival was postponed due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic about three days to its commencement in Benin City, Edo State capital.The 11-man committee, which is made up of members of the COVID-19 Task Force (NCDC), Commissioners of Sports from the six geo-political zones of the country and representatives of the Sports Ministry, is headed by the chairman of Delta Sports Commission, Tony Okowa. The Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, inaugurated it yesterday.
Though, there are divided opinion by some stakeholders on the need to hold the sports festival this year, the committee is optimistic of working out the modalities that will determine if the festival could still hold within its time frame of 30 days.
Some stakeholders are pushing for the sports festival to hold before the Edo State election, others are of the opinion that it should be held after the election.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Okowa said the committee had already started its operations. “I believe we will be able to cover all the areas and submit our reports within 30 days. We have to look at the COVID-19 situation in the country generally and see if it will be possible to go ahead with the sports festival.”
Okowa, who thanked Dare for the “opportunity to serve in this important sector, which counts a lot for the Youths of this country,” assured the minister that the committee would deliver on time.
The Guardian learnt yesterday that some individuals are pushing for the Edo 2020 National Sports Festival to hold during the August break to avoid unnecessary cancellation of events that may occur as a result of rainfall.
Perhaps, one major obstacle that may obstruct the sports festival is how the government of Edo State will be able to placate students of the university of Benin to vacate their hostels when normal school activities resume. The students were ‘forced’ to go on long vacation in preparation for the festival before it was postponed from its initial date of March 22 to April 1.
Earlier during the inauguration, Youth and Sports Development Minister, Sunday Dare, charged the Covid-19 Edo 2020 National Sports Festival Committee to work as quickly as possible to deliver on their mandate.
Dare said, “The inauguration of this committee is a fall out of last week’s Council of Sports meeting. The effort to deliver on your mandate has started. This assignment must be given the urgency it deserves.
“We must follow the regime of what obtains globally. This is a call to duty, which must be handled with all the seriousness it deserves. I charge you to carry out this task within the stipulated period of 30 days in which you are expected to submit your report.”
Dare said the terms of reference of the committee include to interface with all stakeholders and relevant agencies to determine Edo State’s readiness to host the festival; ascertain the level of health infrastructure; prepare code of operation for athletes, officials; and also propose a new date for the Festival.