As the 21st National Sports Festival kicks off Wednesday, November 30, 2022 in Asaba, the governor of Delta state, Ifeanyi Okowa has assured of a hitch-free event, even as he disclosed that the stadium and other sporting facilities needed for a seamless hosting of the major sporting activities in the country were all set for the games.
Okowa gave this assurance Tuesday in an interview with journalists shortly after inspecting facilities at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, venue for the sports fiesta tagged ‘Delta 2022’.
The governor applauded members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and the contractor that delivered the project for a quality job and prompt delivery of the project.
“The stadium and sporting facilities are all set for the games. I truly must appreciate the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and also the contractor that did handle the project.
“There is no doubt that a lot of work has been put in since the last time that l came in and you can see that everything is ready.
“They are just doing the cleaning, the games starts at 6pm tomorrow and obviously, everything is fully set,” Okowa stated.
On the issue of possible traffic gridlock along the ever busy Nnebisi Road during the sports festival, he expressed optimism that the LOC must have handled the issue in its planning process.
However, Governor Okowa said that he was not anticipating a major hiccup as far as traffic flow is concerned, considering the fact that there are a lot of interconnecting roads in the area.
“Concerning the issue of traffic, l am sure that the LOC must have looked into that. Luckily for us, there are a lot of interconnecting roads in Asaba and so, l am not anticipating that we will have a major hiccups.
“Obviously, the LOC will deal with any other issue that may arise. But in terms of free flow of traffic along the Lagos-Onitsha Road, l am sure that it wouldn’t be majorly affected.
“The Committee working with the FRSC and DESTMA, l am sure that they will be able to deal with all that.
“I believe that we are all set for the games and if there is any minor inconvenience that people suffered, it is part of the things that you see in a normal game. That is what makes people feel that something is going on,” the governor added.
According to him, the sports festival would boost the economy of the state considering the number of people coming into the state for the biennial sporting events, adding that people would have fun and get entertained during the festival.
“The 21st National Sports Festival is going to be a lot fun for the people; it is something that will enrich them because of the commerce that will take place.
“The whole town is going to wear a new look and l think that that is quite instructive and good for the people of Delta and the people of Asaba,” the governor said, even as he reassured that the state will do very well in the hosting of the 21st National Sports Festival.
In a related development, Governor Okowa expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari and members of his cabinet, particularly the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare for making it possible for Delta State to host the National Sports Festival.
Okowa who was speaking while receiving the touch of unity at Government House, Asaba, said Deltans were truly very excited about the opportunity given to the state to host the sports festival.
The Governor said he was glad that the touch of peace and unity has come to Delta State, adding that it was his prayer that through sports and its development, Nigerians would be able to truly unify the country and cause the nation to move forward.
He paid glowing tributes to the Minister of Youth and Sports for the success story of the Ministry during his tenure, pointing out that a lot has taken place in the Sports Ministry.
“We truly want to use this moment to appreciate Mr. President and members of his cabinet particularly, the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare for making it possible for Delta State to host the National Sports Festival in year 2022.
“We are truly very excited and we are prepared for the competition which takes off tomorrow, November 30, 2022.
“We are glad that this touch of peace and unity has come to Delta State and it is our prayer that through sports and its development, we will be able to truly unify this country and cause us to move forward.
“We truly must pay glowing tribute to the Minister of Youth and Sports because, in his tenure as minister, obviously, a lot has taken place in the Sports Ministry particularly, the recent outing we had at the world championship and also, in the common wealth games.
“Here in Delta State, we are lovers of sports; we are lovers of peace; we believe in the unity of this country and we pray that as the 36 states and the FCT contingent arrive in Delta State that God will see us through this sporting event and that we will live in friendship and in peace and that we will have a very exciting sports festival,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Youths and Sports, Mr. Dare has applauded the remarkable contributions of Delta State Government to sports development in the country, adding that the state had excellently done well.
Dare who made the commendation during the hoisting of flags ceremony at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, said what Delta State had done vis-a-vis the hosting of the sports festival and Sports development was visible to the eyes.
He added that the National Sports Festival was one of the biggest sporting events in the African continent with 14,000 to 15,000 athletes participating in the sports fiesta.