27 November 2012

Nigeria: Eko 2012 - Jonathan to Declare Festival Open

President Goodluck Jonathan is expected to declare open the 18th National Sports Festival, Eko 2012 today at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.

The President who will witness the highly anticipated opening ceremony is said to be very keen on seeing the success of the games which he hopes will kick-start preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

TORCH OF UNITY: Steve Olarinoye carries the torch while, Dr Kweku Tandoh(l) and Hon Lawrence Babatunde Ayeni, Chairman Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Sports march along at the weekend

The opening ceremony which has been touted to 'replicate' that of the London 2012 Olympics will witness the culture and tradition of the host state, Lagos - its aquatic splendour and tourism potentials will be showcased at the ceremony.

A member of the Main Organising Committee hinted that the president's address will harp on the return to the very essence of the sports festival which is to foster unity and discover budding talents for the country.

Apart from the President, members of the National Assembly, top government functionaries and other prominent members of the public, including corporateNigeriawill be in attendance.

The ceremony is also expected to attract some state governors including the host Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, the Minister of Sports and Chairman, National Sports Commission, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, top ministry officials.

Secretary of the Main Organising, Abba Yola, yesterday disclosed that 11,549 athletes, coaches and officials have been accredited for the 2012 festival, making it about Nigeria's biggest national sports festival in history. Over 350 journalists have also been listed for the festival.

The events of the games kicked off yesterday with male and female football matches played at Onikan Stadium and the Agege Stadium.

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