The much awaited National Sports Festival (NSF) Unity Torch finally arrived Edo State on Friday as it was received by the newly appointed Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Prof. Julius Ihonvbere in Benin City.
The torch which came into Edo State from Delta State through Benin-Agbor-Asaba Road was officially escorted to the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium by officials of the National Sports Commission (NSC) and Edo State Sports Council, as well as some athletes.
At the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, the Torch was formally presented to Ihonvbere by one of the NSC South South Zone 1 Coordinators Mr. E. J. Akpabio, while the Sports Council Director, Mr. Godwin Okute ceremoniously took it round.
Welcoming the Torch to Edo State, on behalf of the Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, Prof. Ihonvbere said that he was delighted the Torch of Unity heralding the 18th National Sports Festival has arrived the state.
Reflecting on the main objective of introducing the National Sports Festival after the civil war in 1973, the SSG said that, “as the name implies, the Torch symbolizes the Unity of this great country through sports at a time when the country is facing various security challenges,noting that sports should play a prominent role in cementing the bond of unity among the diverse people of this country.
Ihonvbere assured that, “Edo State is fully prepared to participate at the 18th National Sports Festival tagged “EKO 2012”, adding that, “ we will do everything possible to ensure that the athletes put in their best within the limit of our financial resources” Also, he concluded that, “athletes who win gold, silver and bronze will commensurably be compensated by the state government”
Other dignitaries present at the occasion include the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. Felix Otoide, the NSC South South Zone 1 Coordinator, Mr. Yemi Usikaye, Mrs. Betty Omoruyi among others.