Athletes running for honours at the Eko 2012 National Sports Festival. Edo State will soon bid to host the festival. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI
After hosting the 1981 and 2002 editions of the National Sports Festival in Benin City, Edo State government is considering bidding to host the fiesta once again.
Since the 2012 edition of the festival held in Lagos, the games had suffered several postponements with no clear signal from Cross River State government on when the next festival will hold. Cross River was granted the hosting right for the 2014 edition.
However, Edo State Commissioner for Youths and Special Duties, Mika Emanokha told The Guardian yesterday that Governor Godwin Obaseki’s administration might bid to host the National Sports Festival in the nearest future.
“Edo State will bid for the hosting of the National Sports Festival, but not for the next edition,” Emanokh said yesterday. “Hosting the National Sports Festival is something that requires a lot of finance, so we won’t be in a hurry to bid for it, but it is something we have to look forward to.”
The 2002 edition of the fiesta, which Edo State hosted under the regime of Governor Lucky Igbinedion, was considered one of the most glamorous in the history of the games. It was the second time the festival was hosted in Benin City, after the Bendel ’81 edition.
Lagos State has staged the festival four times in 1973, 1975, 1989 and 2012, while Kaduna has hosted it twice in 1977 and 2009. Rivers State also hosted it twice in 1988 and 2011, same as Bauchi, which hosted it in 1991 and 2000. Other states like Oyo, Kwara, Benue, Imo, Ogun and the FCT have each hosted it once. Delta State, which had won the festival five times since Bauchi 2000 has never bided to host the games.
Emanokh, whose ministry supervises the sports council, said the administration of Obaseki was determined to take Edo State to the summit of Nigerian sports.Meanwhile, Edo State is considering establishing a Sports Commission to administer sporting activities as it is in Delta and Lagos states.