President Muhammadu Buhari has commended the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development for its commitment in hosting National Sports Festival, over the year. In a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President, Femi Adesina, the President stated this at a ceremony to receive the “Torch of Unity’’ and flag-off of activities heralding the National Sports Festival, scheduled to hold in Benin City, the Edo State capital, in March this year.
The President said: ‘‘I am pleased to receive the National Sports Festival ‘Torch of Unity’. It is a symbolic representation of the Unity, Peace and Solidarity amongst Nigerians, especially the athletes and officials in the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory. ‘‘Since the inception of the National Sports Festival in 1973, the Games have been a useful avenue for interaction, integration for our youth, sportsmen and women and a platform for states to showcase their best in sports.
‘‘It is for this reason that the Federal Government intervened to host the last edition of the Festival in the FCT in order to salvage the sports fiesta from permanent closure.‘‘I wish to commend the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the Federal Capital Territory for hosting the event in 2018,’’ Buhari said.
Responding, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare said with the flag off, the Torch of Unity is expected to move round all the States and the Federal Capital Territory before finally arriving Benin City on March 22, 2020, for the opening ceremony of the 20th Edition of the ‘‘Nigeria Olympics.’’
‘‘The Torch of Unity for the National Sports Festival carries with it the objectives of the festival itself, chief amongst which is to symbolise unity, peace, friendship, tolerance and hope among Nigerians. ‘‘When the Torch moves round the cities and people see it, they begin to properly realise the games are here, and it always brings a good feeling to everyone,’’ he said.