Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said that the state government will harness the sporting talent in the state as a tool for youth empowerment and economic diversification.
The governor said this while delivering his welcome address at the Extra-ordinary Meeting of the National Council on Sports, in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
He said that Edo State is reputed for putting up superlative performance in sports which was reaffirmed during the 19th National Sports Festival (NSF) held in Abuja last year.
Obaseki said his administration places high premium on sports development, which influenced the decision to bid for the hosting right of the National Sports Festival, noting, “We took deliberate decision to revamp all sporting facilities across the state, before putting in the bid.”
He added, “We took the decision to build one mini-stadium in each local government area across the state and realised that to be a sporting state, facilities must be provided at the grassroots to tap talent.”
On the state’s preparedness for the 2020 National Sports Festival, the governor said, “After your meeting today, we shall be publishing the list of our formidable Local Organising Committee and sub-committees to drive the process.”
He said that after the state government got the hosting right for the National Sports Festival, the scope of work at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium was expanded, adding that the state government has streamlined her security architecture to ensure visitors, who will be in the state for the Sports Festival are secure and safe during their stay.
Obaseki commended the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, for reviving the National Sports Festival, which was not held for over six years before his appointment, and reassured the minister and other participants at the meeting that his administration will put up a good showing next year.
On his part, Dalung commended the Edo State Government and the people for the successful hosting of the Extra-ordinary Meeting of the National Council on Sports, and explained that the session focused on efforts to advance sports in Nigeria as well as the successful hosting of the 20th edition of the Sports Festival scheduled to hold in 2020, in Edo State.
“In the last three and half years under my watch, the nation has been able to win over 700 medals in all the competition we participated in,” Dalung added.