Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Barrister Solomon Dalung has unveiled the plans for the 2018 National Sports Festival.
He also announced the date for the event which already has a three-month build up Pre-Festival Benefit Concerts starting from Saturday, September 15 in Abuja.
Disclosing the date for NSF, Dalung, who addressed journalists in Abuja on Tuesday said the 2018 edition of NSF holds from the December 6, 2018 through December 16 with the theme, “Abuja 2018 – World Series Edition.”
According to him, the 2018 edition will be organised and managed by the National Sports Festival Marketing and Management Company Limited; a private sector driven initiative by Greenfield Assets Limited in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Youth & Sports Development.
As part of the activities for heralding the sports festival, Dalung disclosed that a Pre-Festival Benefit Concerts would be held on Saturday, September 15th at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja with features from Nigerian A-list artistes.
The minister also hinted all the challenges that had hampered the sport event in the past, which precipitated the suspension of NSF since 2012.
He explained, “Several states have indicated interest to host this biennial festival without success as they usually back out at the last minute due to diverse reasons.
Therefore, given this state of affairs, the Ministry in consultation with relevant stakeholders, undertook a comprehensive reappraisal of the situation with a view to arriving at the way forward for this iconic event.
After this soul searching, we reached the unanimous decision that it is time for a holistic review of the existing model for hosting this national event.
So having taken due cognisance of the challenges facing most states of the federation which were hitherto the established hosts of this festival; we decided that the way forward is to involve the private sector in the organisation, marketing and administration of the NSF.’’
Dalung revealed that the challenges led the Ministry, after exhaustive deliberation, to partner with Greenfield Assets Limited, a consummate project management company, to form the special purpose vehicle, National Sports Festival Marketing and Management Company Ltd, which has been given the mandate to organise, market and administer this festival for the next ten years.
“We are committed to revive, repackage and reposition this festival in order to reinforce the dreams of the founding fathers and to harness the full benefits for our budding sportsmen and women and for the sporting development of Nigeria.
The remaining quarter of 2018 is expected to be all about sports, culture & entertainment as never seen it before,” he said.