The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the last time the event was held was in 2012 when it was hosted by Lagos State. Since then, state governors have been reluctant to table a bid for the sports fiesta that was instituted by the General Yakubu Gowon administration in 1973. Cross River State had put in a bid to host the 19th edition but the state later pulled out citing lack of funds. “The foot-dragging of states in hosting the event is informed by their funding challenges. However, the funding challenges are as a result of states not getting their priorities right. “There is nothing as worthy of investment as the National Sports Festival.
“Whatever we are investing in, whether infrastructure or the economy, sports is the institution that supports the unity required for those investments to flourish,” Dalung said. The minister also stated that the festival’s importance as a legacy project informed his ministry’s decision to fund and host it in Abuja.