Full text of the speech delivered by the Honorable Minister of Sports at the opening Ceremony of the 19th National Sports Festival
The journey to this day has been an onerous task, having commenced in 2012 when the hosting rights for the 19th edition of the National Sports Festival was awarded in Lagos during the closing ceremony of the 18th edition.
In line with the biennial calendar of the festival, the 19th edition of the games ought to have taken place in 2014 to coincide with the centenary celebration of the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates that formed the present day Nigeria.
This could not happen until this day as a result of several challenges which militated against the hosting of the festival in 2014.
It was therefore a big relief to Nigeria’s Sporting Family when the Federal Government of Nigeria under the leadership of his Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR approved the organization an hosting of the festival in Abuja.
The opening ceremony is an attestation to the commitment of the present administration to youth development and sustainability of the festival.
I wish to acknowledge the efforts of the various state Governors and my colleague, the Honorable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory for their roles in ensuring this day comes to fruition.