APRIL 7, 2021
By Morakinyo Abodunrin
The rich culture of Edo State was on display last night as the 20th National Sports Festival officially began in Benin City, the Edo state capital.
Though the event was delayed due to downpour, it was all glitz and glamour as the show finally got off to an impressive start at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.
Also, Vice president Prof Yemi Osinbajo could not declare the festival open as his plane was diverted due to a storm.
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki disclosed the development while delivering his speech at the ceremony.
Governor Obaseki said the Vice President was airborne to Benin airport but his plane ran into a heavy storm and had to be diverted. Regarded as the heartbeat of the country, the host Edo put up a good show with music star Timi Dakolo anchoring the national anthem.
The event also witnessed the mandatory march past parade by all the participating states and FCT while Governor Ifeanyi Okowa stole the limelight as he led out Team Delta State amid pomp and ceremony of the occasion.
Henry Agoma and Muhammed Baahir respectively took the oaths on behalf of the athletes and officials to compete with fair play.
Meanwhile, Edo State Deputy Governor Comrade Phrank Shaibu who doubles as the Games. Local Organising Committee (LOC) chairman, welcome athletes, officials and stakeholders to the state.
On his part, Governor Godwin Obaseki challenged the athletes to put on superlative performances to set good examples for others to follow.
The Games was eventually declared open by the Youth and Sports Development Minister Sunday Dare on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, who praised the tenacity of Edo State and other stakeholders at ensuring the take-off of the event despite the numerous challenges occasioned by several postponement due to COVID-19.
He described the festival as an avenue to discover budding talents and appealed to them to compete in an atmosphere of friendship.
The 20th National Sports Festival will end on April 14.
SOURCE: THE NATION