ONCE more, the much awaited National Sports Festival scheduled to be staged in the ancient city of Benin, the capital of Edo state has been postponed to April, 2021.
MIXED reactions have trailed the shift in the date that had recently been conveyed to bewildered reporters by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare.
WHILE many saw the postponement as one too many, some looked at it as being wasteful and unnecessary given the huge expenditures that had gone into preparations of infrastructure to play host to the various events and in the camping and training of thousands of athletes and officials from all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), as well as some foreign based athletes that might want to look in.
HOWEVER, The Voice lauds the government decision to shift the date as a very responsible action in the face of the prevailing scourge of the second wave of the global Corona Virus Disease pandemic that had visited the country with alarming devastation so far, leaving in its wake over One Thousand, Six Hundred and Fifty deaths as at the second week of February, 2021.
IN coming to the decision to postpone the games, the government must have taken the larger interest of the people into consideration as the health of the generality of the people should be of greater concern to any responsible government than any other considerations.
THE postponement was therefore important, given the fact that the medical and health authorities worldwide frown at large gatherings that rather encourage person to person contact. Thus, such crowds as expected at the much anticipated National Sports Festival would have been unwieldy in the enforcement of the COVID-19 protocols towards curbing the spread of this never-yielding novel virus disease.
THE Voice would want the issue to be looked at from the recent discovery of the 13 isolated variants of the Coronavirus causing havoc in the country and so consider the government decision as a highly welcome development.
IT behoves on government therefore, to ensure the ready availability and accessibility of the anticipated NAFDAC approved COVID-19 vaccines.
THE local organizing committee for the event must endeavour to make adequate provision for protective materials for the anticipated huge turnout of athletes and officials and also ensure that spectators at the various event centres duly observe the COVID-19 protocols such as wearing of face masks and avoiding body contact, unless where necessary, when eventually the games become a reality in April.
THE government in arriving at the decision to effect a shift in date may have anticipated that the rate of spread of the virus disease might have been reasonably checked with the arrival and administration of the NAFDAC authenticated vaccines in addition to the prevailing protocols.