If there were doubts about hosting the 21st National Sports Festival by Delta state, the events of the last 12 days have rekindled hope that the showpiece is for real.
Firstly, it was the Executive Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa who on a visit to to the Stephen Keshi stadium, Asaba, got the firm assurances of the contractors handling some of the festival’s critical projects that they would deliver by November 18, some ten days before events get underway.
Secondly, at the lighting up of the unity torch in Abuja, Gov Okowa again reaffirmed the preparedness of Delta state to stage the best ever sports feast before Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo who stood in for his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari.
Also in attendance at the ground breaking ceremony were the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, the co-chairmen of the LOC, Patrick Ukah and Tonobok Okowa as well as other dignitaries in the sporting fraternity.
And just last Thursday in Asaba, members of the LOC met to brainstorm on strategies to hosting the festival as well as administrative matters after which Chief Ukah, who is also the Secretary to state government reechoed the enthusiasm of his principal, Gov Okowa, that the state was rearing to go in the festival project.
This edition of the festival that is dubbed Nigeria’s version of the Olympic Games holds between November 28 and December 10 in Asaba and environs where sports men and women from all parts of the country will compete for honours in about 35 sports.
Delta state is the defending champions having comfortably won the last edition in the ancient city of Benin, Edo state.