Stephen Dunmoye

President Muhammadu Buhari has flagged off the Torch of Unity movement signifying the commencement of the 21st National Sports Festival (NSF), which he described as the engine room for producing great champions that will represent the country at International Competitions.

The ceremony which was tagged “Delta 2022”, took place on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He stated that, all outstanding stars that have written the name of the country in gold were born out of the National Sports Festival which clearly shows that the resources government is investing in sporting activities is not a waste.

The President commended the Main Organising Committee (MON) as well as the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for their commitment and doggedness towards ensuring the successful hosting of the games.

While reiterating his administration’s commitment to the development of sports in the country, he explained that sports have remained a unifying platform for Nigerians and as such, government will continue to invest in it.

President Buhari commended the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, the Nigerian Olympic Committee, led by Engr. Habu Gumel and the athletes for the outstanding performance at the Games.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare described the Sports Festival as Nigerian Olympics where the best and brightest athletes are selected to represent the country at International çompetitions.

He stated further that the Touch of Unity Movement being flagged off today by Mr President will travel round the 36 States of the Federation including the Federal Capital Territory and will finally arrive at Delta which is the host State of the Festival.

Dare commended the Executive Governor and the good people of Delta State for their resilence in sports and commitment to hosting a successful festival.

He called on corporate organisations and sports loving Nigerians to join hands with government in order to develop sports for the benefit of our youth.

Also speaking, the Executive Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa assured of the States’ readiness to deliver the best Festival that will culminate into an outstanding 2024 Olympic outing.

According to him, sports represent peace and unity in the country and as such the State will leave no stone unturned in ensuring a peaceful, unique and formidable sports festival in the history of Nigeria.

He challenged the participating States to come and compete with Delta State, being the leading sporting State in the Competitions.

In her good will message at the event, the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, commended Nigerian female athletes for making the country proud at the just concluded Commonwealth Games.

She called on them to ensure that they maintain the lead during the forthcoming festival.