The Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission, Deji Tinubu, says the incessant postponement of the National Sport Festival (NSF) is a setback for athletes and sports development in the country.
Tinubu spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos against the backdrop of the recent postponement by the host, Cross River.
NAN reports that the biennial national competition had suffered three postponements since Cross River secured the hosting right after the 18th edition, “Eko 2012” staged by Lagos State.
Cross River in postponing the event speculated to have been held in April to the last quarter of the year, did not give a precise date for the competition.
In 2014, it was postponed to 2015 because the facilities were not ready and was again postponed due to the 2015 general elections.
The recent postponement, the Cross River government said, was because of preparations for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in Brazil.
“The postponement has affected our training, funding and others, but what can we really do? There is nothing we can do about it; we just have to ride the storm.
“The postponement has made us to tone down our training a bit until we get a definite date for the Games,” Tinubu said lamenting the development.
On what the government will do to get the state back to the first position on the festival’s log, he said it would be a gradual thing.
“It will be a systematic thing, it is just for us to get it right at home and prepare well, but it is not going to happen overnight.
“It is going to be over a period of time, when we get back to true sport development, true talent searching and talent development.
“We have started a programme or a process where over a couple of years our athletes will go through it and prepare to be national champions.
“These athletes will represent us at the National Sport Festivals if we would have eradicated the problem of succession of the athletes
when they are no longer eligible,” he told NAN.
Tinubu said that the system of talent hunt and development put in place by the government would be enduring and would continue after the incumbent administration.
“Lagos has evolved a plan that will outlast the government, a system where continuingly we produce athletes who are good enough to
win laurels at the national and international levels,” he said. (NAN)