National Sports Festival the greatest show in Africa – Segun Odegbami

February 29, 2020
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From March 22, 2020, the 20th edition of the Nigerian National Sports Festival will begin and Nigeria’s best domestic athletes will converge in the ancient city of Benin, Edo State, for the biggest domestic sports festival in the whole of Africa.

This bi-annual celebration of sports, cancelled and postponed on a few occasions for various reasons adduced by host States, was introduced into the country’s social fabric as one of the weapons designed to cushion the pain, bitterness and other fallouts of the 1967-1970 Civil war.

The first festival that took two years of planning was held in 1973 in the capital city of Nigeria then, Lagos, and hoisted by the new National Sports Commission under Dr. Isaac Akioye.

The festival held every two years in those days – 1975 in Lagos, 1977 in Kaduna, 1979 in Ibadan, and so on. Somewhere down the line, the sequence was broken.

I was an athlete at the first two festivals in 1973 and 1975, representing Western State, comprising present day Oyo.
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