• ‘Authorities Is Toying With Our Future’
There have been robust indications yesterday that some Nigerian athletes are weighing the choice of staging a protest over what they time period as authorities nonchalant perspective in the direction of the organisation of the 20th Nationwide Sports activities Competition, tagged Edo 2020.
The pageant had suffered a sequence of postponements because it was moved from its preliminary date of March 2020, as a result of outbreak of COVID-19. The Sports activities Ministry shifted it to December 2020, and later, January 3, 2021, earlier than settling for a brand new date of February 14 to 28.
However a darkish cloud appears to encompass the February 14 graduation date, after Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, declared final week the state had no cash to host the pageant. Obaseki was stated to have requested the federal authorities to supply some billions of naira for Edo State to stage the fiesta.
The Guardian learnt yesterday that some ‘involved athletes’ held a gathering in one of many South-west states in the course of the week to deliberate on points in regards to the sports activities pageant.
A supply hinted yesterday that the athletes, drawn from varied sports activities, expressed their fear over authorities perspective in the direction of staging the sports activities pageant, which is able to afford them the possibility of testing their health stage forward the Tokyo Olympics Video games scheduled for July.
In line with the supply, the ‘involved athletes’ have despatched messages to their counterparts within the varied states to organize for the protest on Wednesday, February 10, if nothing concrete is seen in regards to the graduation of the pageant.
“This yr’s Nationwide Sports activities Competition means quite a bit for us,” one of many athletes advised The Guardian yesterday. “However from the look of issues, the federal government just isn’t able to stage the occasion. The opening ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, February 14, however as we converse, there isn’t a signal to indicate that the pageant will maintain. As athletes, we rely solely on sports activities to outlive, and the federal government appears to be toying with it.
“When the pageant was postponed in March 2020, the federal government made it clear that it was because of outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. Now, issues have gotten regular, and sporting actions have picked up. The Nigeria Wrestling Federation held its occasion in Bayelsa final month, whereas the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) staged its All-Comers in Akure final week. The Nigeria Skilled Soccer League (NPFL) matches are occurring throughout the nation. Why will the federal government refuse to carry the sports activities pageant, which is able to give us the platform to check our expertise for the Olympics Video games? We have now to take the bull by the horn. If by Tuesday and no signal that the pageant will maintain, we can have no alternative than to stage a protest,” the athlete acknowledged.
No official of the Sports activities Ministry and the Native Organising Committee (LOC) for Edo 2020 was prepared to talk on the problem yesterday.