With a few days to the opening ceremony of the 19th edition of the National Sports Festival, Godwin Dudu-Orumen, Chairman of Edo State Sports Commission (ESSC), has welcomed athletes to the state ahead of what he expects to be a keenly contested games.The gates of the Games Village were thrown open on Thursday, April 2, four days before the April 6 date for the opening ceremony.
Dudu-Orumen in a statement signed on his behalf by Nnamdi Okosieme, his Special Adviser on Media and Communications, said Edo State was welcoming athletes from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with open arms. The ESSC boss said Edo State had prepared extensively for the festival by putting top class facilities in place to deliver a Games that will linger in the minds of Nigerians for a long time to come.
He stated that the people of Edo State known for being very accommodating of visitors will show hospitality to athletes and officials the Edo way.
“We are happy to welcome all athletes and officials to the Games. We have taken steps to ensure that every state contingent competes in a way that brings out the best in them. That is why we have gone to great lengths to ensure that they are comfortable both in the accommodation provided for them and at the facilities available to them for training,” Dudu-Orumen stated.
He noted that as much as Edo State was hosting to win, it was not going to do so at all cost.
“As the host of this Games, we are going to be guided by the spirit of fair competition. We will not capitalize on our status as host to place ourselves in a position of advantage over other participating states. This is because in Edo State we have a track record of excellence and fidelity toward due process. Having gone the extra mile to provide qualitative training and preparation for our athletes, and providing for them every needed equipment to excel, we are counting on them to emerge the best overall when the festival ends,” the ESSC boss stated.
He called on all athletes to compete fairly and eschew attitudes that would cast their states in bad light and bring the Games to disrepute. He also enjoined them to be mindful of the existing rules and protocols regarding the COVID-19 virus urging them to comply strictly with them.
“I welcome you once again to the heartbeat of the nation and wish you a jolly good stay in this ancient and historical city of Benin. In your spare moments I encourage you to take a tour round the savour to behold our historical monuments and artefacts, and also to savour the culinary delicacies of the Edo people,” Dudu-Orumen said.