The Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has indicated the readiness of the state to host the 22nd edition of the National Sports Festival (NSF) in 2024.
In a statement by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, Governor Abiodun made this known when he played host to the 22nd National Sport Festival Evaluation Committee, in his office in Abeokuta.
Governor Abiodun expressed his conviction that no other state can defeat Ogun in its plans to host the festival after almost 16 years it last hosted it.
Abiodun, while noting that Ogun is one of the most peaceful states in the country, urged the committee to make security, peaceful atmosphere and the well-being of the athletes the most important consideration above others.
“Our state is the Gateway State and I do not think that any other state can compete and defeat us in the bidding for this National Sport Festival.
“So, on behalf of my team, I want to assure you that we will be ready to host this Sports Festival. I want to thank the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mr Sunday Dare. And I have told him, we are hosting this festival, we are ready for it.
“I think a festival like this, one of your topmost considerations should be a venue where you can guarantee the safety of the athletes and also the visitors. I think that consideration ranks higher than any other consideration, it has to be number one and once you take that on your check list, you can begin to look at other areas.
“I beat my chest and proudly say that Ogun State is one of the most peaceful states in the country, if not the most peaceful state in the country and I think that is a very serious consideration and we will continue to do everything to sustain that role as one of the most peaceful states in the country,” he said.
The governor who added that his administration sees the development of the sport sector as very important as it helps to instill discipline, leadership skills and also helps the youths to stay clear from social vices, said hosting of the festival was fundamental to the socio-economic development of the state.
“We see the sport sector as a sector that we must promote because sport itself instills discipline in our youths, if you are preparing for any sporting activity, you are required to be disciplined, you have to wake up at a certain time to train, you have to develop interpersonal skills, once you are subjected to those kind of rigorous training exercises, you are less likely to engage in vices because you won’t have time,” he noted
Earlier in his remarks, the leader of the 22nd National Sport Festival Evaluation Committee and also the Director, National Sport Festival-Para Sport Department, Ministry of Youths and Sports, Peter Nelson, who commended the state government for showing interest to host the 22nd edition of the festival, opined that the state can surpass its record of being the only state to have hosted and made a huge profit, if it gets the nod to host the event.
A former Commissioner for Youths and Sport development in the state, Bukola Olopade, while expressing optimism that the state would win the bid to host the festival in 2024, said he looked forward to a successful bidding process.