The long awaited National Sports Festival (NSF) is finally expected to hold in Calabar, Cross River State from November 8 to 21 2016, it has been announced. The festival will also be open to athletes of all ages domiciled in Nigeria.
According to the Special Assistant Media of the Sports Minister Nneka Ikem Anibeze, the decision was made known on Sunday at the Technical session of the Extra Ordinary National Council on Sports held in Calabar.
Delivering his opening address at the session, the Chairman of the National Council on Sports and Minister for Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung charged the thirty-five state Commissioners of Sports as well as the Directors of Sports to get their various State Governors to invest in sports development.
Dalung also called on the Council to give Cross River State the opportunity to host the NSF which has been postponed twice since 2014.
“You’ll recall that Cross River state could not host the festival due to the transition period which halted many projects in the run up to the general elections last year. This year, you’ll have no reason not to host the games.
“The influx of tourists and the benefits of hosting a competition of this magnitude cannot be overemphasized. I urge you to do all within your power to ensure that this festival does not suffer another postponement. We will support you in the necessary areas”, the minister assured.
Responding, the Governor of the state Prof Ben Ayade who was represented by the Commissioner of Sports, Comrade Asu Okang reinforced the state’s commitment and readiness to host the festival.
“Having gone round on an inspection tour of facilities, you can see that we are almost ready to host the festival. We have the best hospitality in the country, our swimming pool is the best in Nigeria and we are looking toward to host the best sports festival ever”, Okang stated.
The technical session which had the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Chinyeaka Ohaa as Chairman, also resolved that the NSF will be open to all ages and all Nigerians domiciled in Nigeria. Each athlete and official will be expected to pay the sum of N12,500.00 to participate.
States that place 1st to 3rd on the medals table will benefit from sports infrastructural development and/or equipment which shall be built and provided before the next edition of the festival. The council was also invited to approve the introduction of an NSF for people with hearing impairment (Deaf sports).