Thursday, 29 November 2012

THE HISTORY OF NATIONAL SPORTS FESTIVAL: HOW IT ALL STARTED

Hostilities began at the National Sports festival few days ago at EKO 2012 with a colourful opening ceremony and medals as started rolling in for the prepared states as the "generational next" of nigeria sports showchase their talents..........we present the history of the games,calling it nigeria mini olympic games will be too far away from the truth, have a nice reading this............... 

The History

The National Sports Festival was conceived as a socio-psychological initiative to rebuild the psyche of the Nigerian Nation which was traumatized by civil war in the late 1960s.

Prior to the civil war, since the days of the Empire Day Celebrations in Niger, there existed a sports competition by way of selected athletics and other games organized as one-sport or sartorial competitions between schools and/or organizations. Principal among these were the Grier cup, Manuwa I. Adebayo Cups, Principal Cup, All Nigerian Open Athlete Champions LAWNA Games, etc. However, at the end of the Nigerian Civil War in 1970, a conscious effort was then made to grow the existing competition in scope and scale, to have an all-inclusive National Multi-Sports competition by way of a festival.
To arrest the drift towards inter-tribal morass occasioned by the 1967-70 Civil War and most essentially, to checkmate the declining standards of Nigerian sports, the Federal Government introduced a biennial multi-sports competition, now commonly referred to as the National Sports Festival, involving all the then 12 States of the Federation. Perhaps, it could be arguably insinuated that the Sports Festival was one of the by-products of the 3Rs of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, enunciated as a way of reuniting the country, and emphasized amongst youths. The founding fathers had the twin objectives of:
With these objectives in mind, the body saddled with the responsibility of actualizing this national policy under Dr. Jerry Enyeazu (who was then the National Director of Sports) got working and came up with the framework of organizing the first National Sports Festival. Case studies of similar programmes in some countries like East Germany and others were undertaken with a view to adapting relevant modalities to the Nigerian situation for nation-wide acceptance. Indeed, the festival is said to have been modeled after the German “Spatakiad Games” where youths gathered every 2 years to compete against themselves.
The Sports Festival actually started in 1973 and has been running till date. Except in 1983, 1987, 1993 and 1995, the festival has been religiously held biennially as a multi-sports festival. The National Sports Festival has become a veritable instrument for National Unity, cohesion, peace, mutual understanding, friendship, cross-cultural affiliation as well as other positive values.
So far, 17 editions of the National Sports Festival have come and gone, the last one hosted by Rivers State, and each contributing to the promotion of the spirit of the Games toward National Development.
The 18th National Sports Festival tagged Eko 2012” is billed for November, 2012 in Lagos State. This is a great opportunity for lovers of sports, and indeed, all Nigerians, to experience Lagos State with her rich culture and numerous developments. It also presents another great opportunity to build national bonds with people from other states across Nigeria, in the biggest sporting competition in the country. For those who will be attending the sports festival, you are most welcome to Lagos!

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