We Expect The National Sports Festival To Happen This Year – Sports Minister
The Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, says there are expectations that the National Sports Festival will still hold this year.
Mr Dare revealed this on Monday when he featured as a guest on Channels Television’s Sports This Morning.
“Our expectation is that it happens this year, and I take my cue from the meeting of the national council on sports that is the highest sports decision making body in the country,” the minister said when asked about the possibility of hosting the sporting event.
He further disclosed that the council had a meeting about 3 months ago and unanimously agreed that the sports festival should hold in 2020.
According to the minister, an 11-man committee was constituted immediately after the council meeting and the committee afterwards went on to inspect facilities in Benin, the Edo State capital.
Asides checking to ascertain quality of sporting infrastructure, the committee also checked the COVID-19 infrastructure in place to see how the protocols are set out.
The committee had a report ready in thirty days which was submitted to the monitoring and implementation committee for review and is still being looked at.
In the same vein, the minister confirmed that there are plans in place to ensure the gradual return of about eight non-contact sports in the country with strict compliance to COVID-19 protocol.
Mr Dare said the Federal Government plans to return the national stadium in Surulere, Lagos State to its original blueprint.
He said previous administrations abandoned the national asset for two decades.
“We intend to return the National Stadium, Surulere to its original blueprint. We intend to make sure that every illegal structure that has been put in place that is not part of the blueprint will be removed,” he said.
Dare noted that the move is necessary in order to create room for individuals interested in concessioning the stadium.
He explained that the Ministry has approached billionaire businessman and philanthropist, Kessington Adebutu, who has agreed to fix some key facilities in the stadium pending when the concession process is being completed.
“We are also looking at Adopt a Sports Centre and a Pitch. We have approached Chief Kessington Adebutu who has agreed to make available half a billion naira to start fixing some of the key facilities in the stadium.
“I think that will help because that can open a slight window to make some of the facilities in Surulere to be functional,” he said.