Edo reaffirms readiness for festival, as 2020 NSF gets Mascot, Theme Song

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The Edo State Government, led by Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has reiterated its readiness to host athletes and sports lovers drawn from across the country to an impressive tourney for the National Sports Festival (NSF) scheduled to hold next year.

The Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the 20th edition of the NSF holding in the State, said all is in place to successfully play host to the 33 sporting activities approved by the National Council on Sports, noting that it will unveil the festival’s mascot and theme song on Thursday, Oct.17, 2019.

Spokesman of the LOC, Tony Akiotu, announced this after the committee’s meeting in Benin City, the Edo State Capital, adding “the song and the mascot were selected from the 77 entries received by the LOC.”

Akiotu said the national unveiling of the song and mascot would take place in Lagos on Oct. 28.

“While the unveiling in Benin City will not be with a big ceremony, that of Lagos will be organised alongside the launch of the fund-raising for the games,’’ Akiotu said.

He added that the fund-raising was to enable Edo State host a very successful NSF in 2020, adding that plans were underway for a very wide coverage of the festival.

“Super Sports will beam the opening and closing ceremonies of the festival live, while other local television stations will hook up to it throughout the duration of the competition. As part of the publicity for the festival, billboards will be hosted in major airports in the six geo-political zones of the country.

“Edo is not just hosting for the fun of it, we are hosting an event that will be historic. We are hosting to raise the standard and organisation of the games,” he said.

The LOC spokesman said the festival’s organisers would also ensure they use the event to showcase five icons of the festival from Edo State.

“We will showcase our icons, such as Maria Osifo and Isaac Ikhuoria, among others. Nine venues, including the renovated Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, would play host to 33 sports competitions during the festival.

He said the two campuses of the University of Benin as well as the Benin Technical College have been chosen to serve as the Games Village.

The NSF 2020, which is the third time the State will be hosting the festival, will hold from March 22 to April 1.

The old Bendel State had hosted the 1981 edition, while Edo State had in 2002 hosted the sports tourney.