Ogun State government, on Tuesday, announced its readiness to hold the 2024 National Sports Festival (NSF) in fulfilment of an earlier promise made by the Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, as it unveiled leading professionals in Nigeria’s sports sector as Local organizing Committee (LOC) members.
It would be recalled that the state government, earlier in May, had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development.
During that occasion, Governor Abiodun had told the Federal Government delegation led by the then Minister of Sports, Mr Sunday Dare, that Ogun State, being a state noted for recording many firsts in all spheres of human endeavour, was ready to host a world-class festival in 2024, asserting that the State had capable hands and sponsors ready to support the bid.
To that end, the former minister, while expressing the FG’s acceptance of the proposal noted that the choice of Ogun State as the next host of the NSF was due to its culture of sports development, availability of sporting infrastructure and potential to host a befitting festival that would linger for a long time.
Unveiling the 16-man local organizing committee in Abeokuta, the state capital on Tuesday, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, in a statement listed former Commissioner for Youths and Sports in the state, Hon. Bukola Olopade as the chairman of the LOC alongside Mr Tilewa Adebayo, a sports enthusiast, as co-chairman.
Olopade, the progenitor of the top-rated Access Bank-sponsored Lagos City Marathon, Abeokuta 10km Marathon race, and the Remo ultra-race, remains topnotch in the world of sports in Nigeria.
Another member of the Committee, Chief (Mrs.) Falilat Ogunkoya-Omotayo (MON) who is regarded as the Queen of tracks is a 1998 World Cup of Athletics Champion, 400 metres grand prix champion, 200 metres world champion, two-time Olympic medalist and the first female Nigerian to win an individual Olympic medal and hold the African record in 400 metres till date.
Others include the Secretary-general of the local organising committee (LOC) for the NSF Edo 2020, Dr Emmanuel Igbinosa, one of Nigeria’s notable sports administrators, ex-chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC); working committee of the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) and Chairman of the Youth Committee of African Table Tennis Federation, Dr Kweku Tandoh, as well as the renowned sports psychologist and head of the Department of Sports and Exercise Medical Sciences at University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho, Ghana, Professor Oluwaseun Olanrewaju Omotayo,
Also in the Committee are the Vice Chairman of Ijebu Ode Local Government, Hon Dare Alebiosu; Mr. Kunle Solaja, Olusegun Oyende, Mr Olatunji Onatolu, Mrs. Modele Sharafa Yussuf, Demola Are, Abiodun Jubril Elegbede, Ola Opedimeji Adisa, the former Commissioner for Youth & Sports and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth & Sports.
The statement said that the LOC has been mandated to set up subcommittees, made up of various stakeholders to ensure a hitch-free exercise as well as deliver a sports festival that is second to none in the country.