After four days of competition at the ongoing National Sports Festival the glamour and also the usual competitive spirit among participating teams, appeared to be missing and this was enough for sports enthusiasts to conclude that the sports fiesta is almost now a jamboree.
Feelers from most camps of athletes in the festival indicated that the utmost interest was how and when their allowances would be paid, while the States sports officials are only counting days for the sports fiesta to be over.
"The sports festival is more like a glorified inter-house sports. And if the Sports Minister is really serious about sports development in this country, he should institute a study group to see how the sports festival could be revived," said a member of the EKO 2012 local organising committee at the National Stadium yesterday.
Also former Edo State commissioner for sports, Mr. Brown Ebewele stated that the only thing happening was the usual intrigues by States to top the medals table.
"The only thing that is certain so far is the usual hustle by the States to top the medals tables without being very competitive".
Rightly so the festival seem to be a three horse race between Lagos, Delta and Rivers. These are the visible competitors at the venues visited during the week. Others seem to be be putting more of a shadowy appearance. "For me it is more like a jamboree," said Athletics Federation of Nigeria vice president, Jide Josiah. He is part of the Ekiti contingent.
"I can just imagine the number of sports officials who will complete their buildings after the sports festival.
"Can you imagine that the State's top officials are accommodated in cosy hotels. They haven't even gone to see the hostels where their athletes are kept."